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Bank mess will roll on for years

IRELAND appears to be moving, slowly but surely, towards a deal on bank debt. The positive meeting this week between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and German chancellor Angela Merkel was a further step along the road.

The chancellor described Ireland as a "shining example" of how a country can emerge stronger from the economic crisis.

This was surely due credit, given the extent of austerity endured by Irish people over the past four years.

But we're far from out of the mess. There is considerable distance left to run and any recovery will be slow.

While Ms Merkel's statement is obviously a positive, the proof of the pudding has yet to be revealed.

It is generally accepted that details of any deal on our bank debt will not be known until 2014. That was the message from the German finance minister's visit to Dublin this week.

Which means another 14 months, at least, of wishing and hoping, as the country treads water.