Saturday 25 January 2020

Bord Gais generates hope

We could not have hoped for a better event to mark of the second anniversary of the EU/IMF bailout.

Yesterday Bord Gais was offered a staggering €6.5bn by international money managers in less than an hour. It was one of the most extraordinary debt auctions ever witnessed in Europe.

The deal is the clearest sign yet that the same markets that slammed shut for Ireland in 2010 believe there has been a dramatic change in this country's economic prospects.

Bord Gais was not a one off. The ESB, Bank of Ireland and the State all borrowed in the bond market in recent days. Each raised its money at better prices than anyone expected. All were met with growing enthusiasm

Between them the four borrowers secured €2.5bn on the markets. It's not even half the story; investors offered to lend closer to €17bn.

Six months ago the bond market was a no-go area for any Irish borrower. It had been since the financial meltdown that preceded the bailout itself two years ago.

The wounds remain raw. As a nation, we will toil for years to cover the costs of the collapse. Lives and livelihoods have been destroyed. The loss of economic sovereignty has been mortifying.

That cannot be the end of the story though. Yesterday's Bord Gais deal proves recovery is possible, the narrative can change.

The reality of the economic collapse cannot be rewritten, but the epilogue remains ours to determine.

Irish Independent

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