Saturday 24 February 2018

Brendan Keenan: EU's latest plan will come with lots more strict budget targets

'IF there wasn't the problem in the markets concerning Italy and Spain, I'd be pretty euphoric about this breakthrough," said Finance Minister Michael Noonan after Monday's emergency meeting with his eurozone colleagues.

And, he might add, there would be no breakthrough if there wasn't the problem with Italy and Spain. Other, bigger woes may yet be to Ireland's -- and Mr Noonan's -- benefit.

The paradox is that the creation of a eurozone default process makes it perfectly reasonable for ratings agencies like Moody's to downgrade Ireland -- this time to what is known unkindly as "junk".

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