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Our €126.4bn debt is amongst worst in eurozone after Greece

IRELAND's national debt was €126.4bn at the end of July, ensuring it continues to be amongst the worst in the eurozone after Greece.

The Comptroller and Auditor General's report says the cost of servicing the debt rose by €1bn, or 31pc, with 11pc of all the money collected by the State in taxes now going to pay off Ireland's massive debt.

The report also says that at the end of 2010 the Government had guaranteed bank debts valued at €113bn and that the Central Bank has provided €49.5bn to Ireland's distressed financial institutions.

It also values the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) at €22.7bn at the end of 2010 but the NPRF said this had since fallen even further to €20.8bn at the end of June this year.

The fund has invested €11.4bn in AIB and Bank of Ireland as part of the bank rescue programme which was down €4bn at the end of 2010 and has since reduced to €5.3bn. The value of the shares it purchased in both banks has collapsed with AIB's share price down 67pc and Bank of Ireland's down 72pc at the end of July 2011.

This year the pension fund reinvested a €288m dividend it received in shares from AIB and has sold off other assets to raise €10bn to invest in the two banks at the request of Finance Minister Michael Noonan. It also sold some Bank of Ireland shares, valued at just over €1bn to a group of international investors.

Irish Independent