Saturday 16 February 2019

IMF's Lagarde praises Government's 'clever' cuts and taxes

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

The head of the IMF has warmly praised the Government for the "clever" way it has implemented tough cuts and taxes, while keeping the public onside.

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde singled out Ireland for special mention just as the Government as secured a special deal on our IMF debt.

Ms Lagarde said she was very impressed with how Irish politicians have managed to implement reforms, while maintaining social cohesion.

"The way the Irish have played this is very clever. Portugal is the same - they have got everyone to pull together," she said in an interview with the Financial Times.

Ms Lagarde's comments come as the Government prepares to offload the State's IMF debt, by switching the loans to the EU.

THe Government has secured the backing of all 27 EU finance ministers for a deal on our IMF bailout loans, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said today but the deal still has to be formalised.

The confirmation of the deal, which covers €18bn of IMF loans, comes on the back of political approval from Euro group ministers.

“I am delighted to be able to announce today that we have now cleared all the political hurdles required to support our plan to replace portions of our IMF loans with cheaper market funding,” Mr Noonan said today after meeting EU finance ministers in Milan.

Mr Noonan said the savings – which could be €300m next year – would be factored into Budget 2015, after European leaders backed Irish plans aimed at cutting the interest bill on the bailout debt.

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