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Friday 23 March 2018

FG and Labour insist bailout can be reopened

ine Kerr Political Correspondent

FINE Gael and Labour last night continued to insist they could reopen negotiations with the IMF and EU on key aspects of the bailout deal.

Despite remarks from IMF European Department deputy director Ajai Chopra to the contrary, last night both parties stubbornly insisted the issue could be reopened.

On Thursday, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny claimed up to €17bn could be saved by refusing to pay back unguaranteed senior bondholders.

And despite Mr Chopra's remarks, FG finance spokesman Michael Noonan stuck to his party's argument yesterday.

"Fine Gael is aware that policy on these matters across the EU is moving rapidly and we believe there will be an opportunity to reopen the issue," Mr Noonan said.

"The expectation of a change in policy is already being reflected in the markets.

"Fine Gael has agreed that it is not possible for Ireland to move unilaterally on this issue and any change in position would have to be done in accordance with the general policy laid down by the EU, the IMF and the ECB."

Labour's finance spokeswoman Joan Burton said it had always been clear that the IMF respected the democratic process in Ireland.

And she said there would be scope for a new Government in the new year to discuss the deal because their "democratic mandate" must be respected.

Ms Burton insisted it was not in the interests of the IMF or EU to be dealing in "megaphone negotiations" before then.

Irish Independent

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