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New funds for loans

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (right) has said that the Government will publish draft laws within weeks to set up a "new state vehicle" to channel funds, including from German state bank KfW, to banks which lend to small and medium-sized businesses.

"I expect that this will result in a significant reduction in interest rates on new bank loans totalling hundreds of millions to thousands of Irish businesses," Mr Kenny said.

The initiative is separate from plans to set up a €6bn Irish Strategic Investment Fund.