Wednesday 21 March 2018

Ireland should get deal on €64bn bank debt, says European Parliament chief Martin Schulz

Ailish O’Hora

IRELAND should be part of a debt relief programme as per a June pledge, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz told the Dail today.

“I believe the Irish programme should be adjusted before the end of the year along the lines of the June European Council conclusion,” he told members of the Dail to rounds of applause today.

His comments come as the Government is in ongoing talks to get a deal on the €64bn in bank debt including the IBRC promissory note and follow remarks by the finance ministers of paymaster countries Germany, Finland, the Netherlands and Austria that legacy debt should not be tackled.

“Irish taxpayers are now paying the bankers’ bills to stop a domino effect that could have dragged the whole European banking system down and therefore solidarity with Ireland is to give something back,” Mr Schulz added, in the first such address to the Dail and ahead of Ireland taking up the EU presidency.

“You took the burden on your shoulders to avoid the crash of the system of all the other countries, also my country.

“Therefore I find the 27pc German participation in the package for Ireland is to give back solidarity to the country that gave solidarity to us,” said Mr Schulz, who has been head of the Socialists in the European Parliament since 2004.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny reiterated the need for Ireland to get a deal on the debt.

“Ireland will do everything it can to secure its economic recovery. But we cannot do it on our own.”

He added that a commitment was made to sever the “toxic link” between banking an sovereign debt. “We now need to see it implemented urgently.”

Yesterday, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso gave his own assurances to Mr Kenny that leaders would stick to a June agreement on separating bank and sovereign debt.

Mr Schulz said: "Everybody has to live up to their commitments and be responsible for keeping their own house in order. That is one side of the coin, the other side of the coin is solidarity."

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