Saturday 7 December 2019

Troika back in town for second post-bailout review

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Colm Kelpie

The Troika is in Dublin today for the second post-bailout review.

Representatives will be in Ireland for four days.

The State is subjected to twice-yearly surveillance missions until at least 75pc of the bailout loans are repaid under EU budgetary rules for countries that have left official support programmes.

The representatives will hold discussions with senior officials from the Departments of Health and Justice, as well as Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and the Central Bank.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin are not due to meet the Troika.

The representatives are due to discuss drugs pricing with the Department of Health, the state’s e-health strategy, as well as issues around spending. Health spending was running almost €300m over budget last month.

They will also discuss the progress of the long-delayed Legal Services Bill, which is still making its way through the Oireachtas.

The plan agreed with the EU-ECB-IMF Troika, and later driven forward by then Justice Minister Alan Shatter, aims to cut the cost of the courts system and reduce lawyers’ fees.

The Department of Finance told the Irish Independent the focus of the review will be on the state’s ability to repay the bailout money, as well as covering the economic outlook.

The Department said  issues such as water charges, property price issues or changes to the corporation tax regime here through the end of the so-called Double Irish are not on the agenda.

However, it is understood representatives will be interested in looking at the progress in rolling out key commitments under the bailout programme, therefore some issues may arise.

Representatives will meet with lobby groups the Small Firms Association (SFA) and the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Isme) during which discussions will focus on financing conditions for small and medium-sized businesses.

 

 

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