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Ireland leading the way on exit from bailout

IRELAND is lining up to become the first eurozone country to exit bailout and has applied for a precautionary credit to aid its case. The Government has indicated that the country could be prepared to return to the bond markets by December this year.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan (pictured with National Treasury Management Agency chief John Corrigan) said that they are applying for a "backstop arrangement" from its lenders – the EU or the IMF – which could give investors additional confidence. "Preferably a backstop arrangement that we would never actually use," Mr Noonan said.

The Government wants to qualify for the Outright Monetary Transactions programme, the European Central Bank's bond-buying scheme, and gain access to a funding cushion when it returns to bond markets.