Saturday 21 April 2018

Taoiseach confirms bailout figure of €85bn

Taoiseach Brian Cowen confirmed today the State is negotiating an €85bn bail-out loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund and (EU/IMF).

Mr Cowen said the figure has been discussed with the EU/IMF financial rescue mission during two days of talks in Dublin.

"The size of any programme has not been decided but an amount in the order of €85bn has been discussed," the Taoiseach said.

The Government will unveil its four-year Budget plan to secure €15bn of savings at 2pm today.

In the Dail Mr Cowen described the bailout as an overdraft and said the talks were proceeding as quickly as possible.

"We're talking about here, an overdraft, if you like," Mr Cowen said.

"It's a contingency, it's available to us as required. And on the basis of state's requirements beyond July, for which we are pre-funded, it's available for draw-down for that purpose as well."

Mr Cowen later said he was using the term overdraft for "illustrative purposes", with the negotiations centred on how the money can be drawn down, if required.

"That is a technical and complicated piece of work that is not yet completed," he said.

The Government will publish a €15bn plan for drastic savings today to tackle the economic crisis.

Significant tax hikes, new levies on property and water, and cuts to the dole and minimum wage are expected in the 150-page four-year budget roadmap.

Mr Cowen has called for solidarity across the political system in Dublin, while social justice campaigners demanded the poorest should be spared.

Opposition parties were warned that Ireland's bail-out is only secure if swingeing cuts and tax rises and a more detailed €6bn Budget on December 7 are passed.

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