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Independent TD Shane Ross launches attack on EU Commissioner Olli Rehn in Dail

INDEPENDENT TD Shane Ross has launched an attack on EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn following his ruling out of a delay in the repayment of €3.1bn in Anglo debt due later this month.

The Dublin South politician described Mr Rehn’s comments as “patronising” and said the Taoiseach Enda Kenny should not stand for it.

"When Commissioner Rehn was asked about the promissory notes he embarked on some kind of lecture," said Mr Ross.

"I think the Taoiseach should be telling Commissioner Rehn that we are not given to taking lectures from him."

Mr Rehn quoted the Latin phrase "pacta sunt servanda", which means respect your commitments and obligations.

Mr Kenny refused to reveal details of ongoing talks about Ireland's banking debts because he said they are too complex.

Negotiations are under way within the EU/IMF/ECB troika to make adjustments to Ireland's repayment plans.

The country must pay a total €30.6bn of promissory notes, or IOUs, plus interest to the Central Bank on behalf of the former Anglo Irish Bank over the next 20 years.

It is due to pay its next chunk of €3.1bn on March 31 and opposition TDs have called for the Government to default on the loan deal.

The Taoiseach would not confirm whether current discussions with European and IMF debt masters were about seeking a cut in the taxpayer-saddled Anglo Irish Bank debts or a request for more time to spread out the repayments.

"I'm not going to tell you the particular issues or the nature of the discussions that are taking place because these negotiations are far too sensitive and far too technical and very complex," said Mr Kenny.

However, he hinted that a longer period of time to repay the so-called promissory notes - a Government promise to pay the debts - would be particularly helpful.

"We've made it clear that a longer period of time at a lower interest rate would be of enormous importance to Ireland both in terms of our deficit and our capacity to pay back our debts," he said.

However, Mr Kenny has continuously insisted Ireland should not be prepared to be labelled defaulters.

"This country has always met its commitments and in some cases we've exceeded those commitments," the Taoiseach said.

In a statement today, The European Commission said that while it supports Ireland’s bid to regain market confidence it is “of the utmost importance” that Ireland repays its debts.

It also confirmed that it was discussing restructuring the Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes with Irish officials.