Monday 20 November 2017

Time to restructure Irish debt burden, say bosses

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

TOP Irish business leaders have suggested that the Government should move to restructure the country's vast debt mountain.

Sean O'Driscoll, chief executive of Glen Dimplex -- Ireland's most successful industrial group -- told the Sunday Independent: "We should restructure the debt, because like any other business, you can't run anything well if you're relying on short-term funding." He added: "We need to look at a 20-year loan of some kind.

O'Driscoll's views that the unsustainable national debt needs to be restructured were shared by other business big beasts including Resources entrepreneur John Teeling, 11890's Nicola Byrne and Greencore's Patrick Coveney.

"We're going to have to restructure the national balance sheet and that is going to require some reduction in the overall level of indebtedness," Coveney said.

Hopes that Ireland may be able to restructure or spread out the repayments of its debt were boosted as Goldman Sachs suggested that the major European banks were in a better position to absorb losses on Greek, Irish or Portuguese bonds than they were last year.

There is increasing speculation that Greece may restructure its national debt. Last week CitiGroup indicated that there was a high chance that Greece, Portugal and Ireland would have to restructure their debts.

Greece has been fighting speculation that it is preparing to default. Yields on Greek bonds have skyrocketted over the last week as markets were spooked by rumours that the country could default as early as this weekend. Greece must refinance some of its national debt next year, with market observers believing that this will be almost impossible without another bailout or a debt-resolution scheme.

The premium investors demand for holding 10-year Irish bonds over German counterparts breached record levels last week over fears about the Irish economy. Credit default swaps -- insurance against Ireland defaulting on its debts -- also soared.

Sunday Indo Business

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