TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is in direct conflict with his Social Protection Minister Joan Burton over a debt deal in exchange for a Yes vote in the high stakes fiscal compact referendum.
The European Union should cut the cost of Ireland’s banking bail-out to help Ireland pass the treaty, Ms Burton told the Financial Times in an interview.
The €31bn in promissory notes issued to cover the cost of winding up Anglo Irish Bank should be restructured, she said.
However Taoiseach Enda Kenny disagreed today on his way into a meeting of European leaders in Brussels.
The Anglo promissory notes were separate to the intergovernmental treaty and the Irish people would not be bribed, he declared.
Another €3.1bn instalment in promissory notes is due to be paid on March 31.
Under the current arrangements Ireland must pay €31bn over 10 years to cover the cost of the promissory notes issued to meet the cost of winding up Anglo and Irish Nationwide. With interest that cost will rise to €47bn.
“People have made enormous sacrifices in terms of austerity... Relief in relation to the promissory notes would underline and emphasise once again the solidarity that Ireland has received from the eurozone,” she told the Financial Times Dublin correspondent Jamie Smyth.
Ms Burton said that a move on the promissory notes would be very helpful to the referendum campaign and would be noted by the Irish people.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan has raised the issue of the restructuring of Ireland’s debt burden and discussed the promissory notes with ECB President Mario Draghi in Frankfort last month.
The promissory notes to recapitalise Anglo and Irish Nationwide are scheduled to be paid down by the end of 2025.
A restructuring of the debt could result in the saving of billions of euro.
Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte said last month that work on renegotiating a deal with Europe on the IOUs was continuing.
“I'm very hopeful that a deal will be reached and reached sooner [rather] than later," said Minister Rabbitte.
"As you know, the Irish Government has been working away for some months now at the effort to restructure the commitments that have been entered into in respect of the promissory notes, in respect of Anglo Irish Bank as it was, and I'm very hopeful that he has been making significant progress."
Meanwhile, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has appeared to rule out a mini-Budget this summer.
Speaking at a eurogroup meeting today, Minister Noonan said that the fiscal targets set for Ireland look likely to be reached.
"I think all the authorities have agreed that we will achieve the 8.6(%) as our fiscal target, so it doesn't arise that there'll be further fiscal tightening," he said.
FIANNA FAIL is grabbing the headlines again. Many opponents of the party wonder why anyone might care, but the party still has a reasonable vote of 16pc according to polls and whatever disasters may have struck the party, it is clear that it has not affected its penchant for drama and intrigue. At a time when all other parties seem united and assiduously avoid splits, FF continues to provide lessons for students of politics everywhere.
WHEN voting in a referendum I’ve always found it frustrating that the language on the ballot paper bears little to no resemblance to English. So instead of posing a question only decipherable armed with a Latin dictionary and a legal team, there are two English-based questions that really should appear on this ballot paper for the European Stability Treaty.