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IMF backs payback

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said Ireland can repay its bailout loans early, free of charge and without any conditionality.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said taxpayers could save up to €375m per year if the state was able to pay-off a share of the IMF debt. But repaying the IMF portion early would automatically trigger the repayment of the less onerous European share also, thereby wiping out any potential benefit.