Business Irish

Friday 23 February 2018

Kenny warns that right deal on €64bn banking debt is better than rushed deal

Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Collins
Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Photo: Collins

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has warned that getting the right deal on Ireland’s €64bn banking debt is better than getting a "rushed deal".

He said the negotiations to secure a positive outcome were “complex and sensitive” and the stakes for the country were very high.

“I will not say to this House that we will have a deal on our banking debt by a particular date, nor will I say how such a deal will be structured. The Government has always said getting the right deal is better than getting a rushed deal,” he said.

The next big deadline is in March next year, when the Government is due to repay a €3.5bn bond for Anglo Irish Bank. Getting a deal on reducing the cost of the bank bailout is crucial because the state's current national debt is €167bn.

Mr Kenny told the Dail that the decision of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to recognise Ireland’s special position was a very positive development. He gave some further details of his 30-minute phone conversation last weekend with Ms Merkel, who had previously appeared to rule out a reduction in banking debt.

“In my conversation with Chancellor Merkel, she registered a very genuine appreciation of the steps the Irish people are taking to turn our economic situation around, and her full support for our efforts to get back to the markets,” he said.

Mr Kenny said that Ms Merkel also believed that a positive outcome for Ireland would be good news for the euro area and the wider European Union.

“The approach we are taking has yielded results and will, I am confident, lead to a positive outcome. We appreciate that it will take careful and patient work, often behind the scenes and away from the glare of publicity,” he said.

Mr Kenny was providing further information to the Dail about last week’s summit of EU leaders, at which the subject of banking debt was discussed.

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