Tuesday 23 January 2018

Bailout troika says we are on course to meet budgetary goals

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

Ireland is on track to meet its commitments under the €85bn IMF-EU bailout.

Following the first health check on the bailout, IMF deputy director in Europe Ajai Chopra said the Government had moved very quickly and was on target.

"This programme is a lifeline for Ireland. It represents an Irish solution to an Irish problem and it enjoys our support," he said.

The final documents on the review of the bailout will be published in a month's time.

But the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary fund did confirm their agreement with the Government on: the restoration of the minimum wage to €8.65, reversing the previous cut; a 50pc cut in employers' PRSI; support for the jobs budget; ditching the transfers of loans worth under €20m from the banks to NAMA; and recapitalisation of the banks by the end of July.

Mr Chopra said: "They have reaffirmed their commitment on public finances to do things in a way that is fiscally neutral. They are putting the emphasis on jobs because job creation is what we all want.

"These things take time. You have to remember that Ireland is emerging from one of the deepest crises ever and it is a banking crisis and these do take time to resolve, but the way forward is clear," he said.

But Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin criticised the absence of detail on the Government's jobs budget plan which, he said, showed a "lack of transparency".

"If the troika (IMF, EC, ECB) has approved it, why didn't they publish it," he said.

Fianna Fail said it was the same bailout deal with the same political priorities identified by the last Government.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said government action on the banks, employment and spending would help provide the confidence needed for recovery.

"The engine of our economic recovery has not been working the way that it should.

"The reason that the Government is now taking action across a range of areas is actually to get that engine working before you can give the fuel of confidence for people to get through this frustrating period of austerity and economic difficulties," he said.

Irish Independent

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