Tuesday 21 November 2017

€5bn-bond sale a positive sign for economy, says Taoiseach

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny says the sale of €5bn in 10-year government bonds is a big signal about the progress being made on the economy.

Mr Kenny said this week's bond sale, which moves Ireland closer to exiting the bailout, is one of a number of encouraging signs.

He was speaking at a two-day summit of EU leaders, which finishes today. The leaders are discussing growth and jobs, as well as the single supervisory banking framework to be set up across the eurozone.

But Mr Kenny would not be drawn on reports that senior bank bondholders may be burned as part of a Cypriot bailout, and the effect this would have on Ireland.

Eurozone authorities refused similar requests for Ireland in respect of the now liquidated Anglo Irish Bank, but a move to burn bondholders in Cyprus could give the Government a stronger negotiating hand as it seeks further bank debt deals.

Challenges

Finance Minister Michael Noonan travels to Brussels this evening for talks on the Cypriot bailout.

Mr Kenny said he would not comment in advance of the meeting of finance ministers, adding: "There are a number of considerations to be taken into account in the case of Cyprus."

Mr Kenny also said the Government's plan to get the public finances under control "is working".

"Our objective is to have our deficit down to 3pc by 2015," Mr Kenny said. "There has been significant movement arising from those decisions, be it in regard to promissory notes, the fall in yields from over 14pc down to four, the sale of 10-year bonds are big signals about the movement that Ireland is making.

"The growth figures for Ireland this year, while they are low, they're encouraging. And we recognise we've come a distance but a great deal of challenges lie ahead.

"We would hope that the evidence that is now beginning to take shape in the case of Ireland will demonstrate that from a position where you lost 250,000 jobs in the private sector three years prior to this Government taking up office, that 18,000 were created in the last 15 months. We need more of that. No European leader can be happy with the situation where 26m people are out of work."

Irish Independent

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