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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Kenny hails 'significant benefits' of extension as we plot course to exit funding programme

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny says a new deal to postpone repayments on the country's EU loans would be a significant development as the Government aims to exit the bailout.

EU finance ministers have given the green light for Ireland to delay repayment on €40bn worth of bailout loans.

The EU-IMF bailout team will now work out a proposal with the "best possible option" for Ireland and Portugal's repayment schedule to be eased.

Mr Kenny said the issue had been "agreed in principle" but the bailout team needed to analyse the details.

"If it is agreed, it has to be put to each country. In the context of extending the maturities of the loans given to both Portugal and Ireland, this would be of further significant benefit to us as we make our way to exiting this programme," he said.

"These moneys from European institutions are at lower interest rates than we could achieve on the markets, and therefore a longer extension of that would be of benefit to us. However, it is too early to make a definitive statement about it until these matters are finished," he added.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the alleviation of debt for Ireland and Portugal was welcome.

"But it follows the Portuguese initiative on the basis of what happened to Greece," he said.

The aim of the deal is to push out the repayment dates on the emergency loans that Europe gave Ireland as part of its rescue package in 2010.

EU finance minister discussed whether they would be ready "in principle to consider an adjustment of the maturities on the EFSF and EFSM loans" to Ireland and Portugal.

Mr Kenny will speak at the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) next week on the Government's plan to repair the economy.

Lecture

He will tell the audience the plan is working and will also speak on the need for Britain to stay in the EU.

Mr Kenny will also speak next Monday at a public lecture chaired by businessman and former attorney general Peter Sutherland.

The speech will take place on the LSE campus in London.

Mr Kenny said yesterday he will also discuss Britain's future in the EU with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Cameron is planning to hold a referendum on the question.

Given the trade and political links between the two countries, Mr Kenny said he wouldn't like to see a situation where Britain would leave the EU.

Irish Independent

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