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Key parts of bailout cannot be changed -- Labour

THE Labour Party admitted yesterday that large parts of the international bailout cannot be renegotiated.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said the party would not succeed just by saying they would "thump the table in Europe and renegotiate the deal".

Labour's Ruairi Quinn admitted the party could not unilaterally renegotiate the deal.

But his party leader Eamon Gilmore dismissed Europe's bank chief saying there was no renegotiation on the cards.

Mr Gilmore said European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet was just "a civil servant", suggesting he didn't have the power to say the bailout interest rate could not be renegotiated.

"Mr Trichet is a European civil servant. Any civil servant will, of course, always stick to the plan that is there at the moment, just as he will stick to the plan that is renegotiated when it is renegotiated," he said.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny also dismissed suggestions the deal was unnegotiable.

"The conclusion is ultimately a position to be decided by the heads of the democratically elected governments of the European Union," he said.

But Mr Quinn admitted the party knew it could not renegotiate the interest rate on the IMF portion of the bailout.

Mr Martin said claiming the deal could be dramatically renegotiated was not helpful.

Mr Gilmore hit back, saying Mr Martin had effectively acknowledged the deal had to be renegotiated and could be.

"When I raised in the Dail the issue of the interest rate that was being imposed on Ireland, Brian Cowen told me that it couldn't be reopened," he said.

"Now it seems that everybody including Micheal Martin acknowledges that it can be reopened."

Irish Independent