| 4.2°C Dublin

Debt Crisis: Michael Noonan tight-lipped after meeting with Commission vice president Rehn


Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan remained tight-lipped after his meeting with European Commission vice president Olli Rehn today.

It is understood the meeting included talks on how to reduce the debt associated with Anglo Irish Bank, now the IBRC.

There is over €30bn in bank debt which is to repaid in €3bn annual instalments built up through promissory notes or IOUs.

The Government wants to reduce the interest rate on that debt, currently at 8.6pc, and/or extend the repayment period significantly.

"There is no progress that I'm reporting because it was a confidential meeting,” he said.

"It's too early to say it we'll be successful or not. We're not putting any deadline on it. It's not the meetings themselves - we're involved in a process, and we'll move it onto the political side in the next couple of weeks.

"We've always believed that the promissory note (deal) in Anglo Irish (Bank) made by the previous government was a very expensive deal and we're trying to see if it can be re-engineered."

Mr Noonan will also meet European Central Bank president Mario Draghi today.

Commenting on the ongoing negotiations on the introduction of the so-called fiscal compact designed to rein in Government spending he said a new draft of the deal will be ready before an EU leaders summit next week in Brussels.

The talks on Irish banking debt come as negotiations intensified with Greece on its problems.

So far, talks between creditor banks and Greek officials have not been successful but it is expected that bondholders will have to write off billions in debt associated with the country.

However, Mr Rehn added today that he is confident a deal on Greece will be done.

Yesterday the International Monetary Fund waded into the debate when chief executive Christine Lagarde said the European bailout fund should be increased significantly.

She also highlighted that the crisis is a global one.

She was speaking in Berlin – Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, is resisting any plans to increase the size of the fund.