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Noonan against Anglo payment

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has insisted the Government does not want to pay the next €3.1bn instalment of Anglo Irish Bank debt next year.

Mr Noonan is in Brussels for a meeting of eurozone finance ministers, with the main focus being on solving the crisis in Greece.

However, talks between Irish Government officials and the European Central Bank (ECB) on the Anglo promissory notes are ongoing.

Mr Noonan said the Government does not want to pay the next tranche of the note, with €3.1bn due next March.

"We didn't pay it last year and we don't want to pay it this year, so we would certainly need an agreement in advance of that," Mr Noonan said.

And he did not completely rule out the idea of securing a deal on the promissory notes in advance of the Budget.

"Well, I don't want to close off anything by saying 'no'. I'm pushing to get an agreement as quickly as I may get that agreement and I don't want to close off any options," Mr Noonan said.

He added that the Government hoped to push these issues on during Ireland's presidency of the European Council, which begins in January.

"I don't think the Greek issue is inhibiting our talks with the ECB in any way whatsoever," Mr Noonan said.

"And in terms of the ESM, possibly directly recapitalising banks, well the prior condition on that is the Euro banking union supervisory mechanism would be in place," he added.