Ireland 'took one for the team' on debt, says Noonan

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is interviewed by Bloomberg Television in London. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is interviewed by Bloomberg Television in London. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Thu, Feb 21, 2013, 00:00

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the Government has a "strong case" to win a refund from Europe's rescue fund for the money it spent on recapitalising Ireland’s banks.

German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande have called Ireland a "special case," signaling it will be "looked after," Mr Noonan said in London today when asked if the European Stability Mechanism could be used to retroactively pay for Ireland's bailout.

"I think Ireland has a very strong case,” he told Bloomberg TV.

Mr Noonan's comments come two weeks after the Government secured a deal to stretch out the cost of rescuing the former Anglo Irish Bank, which he said removed a "millstone" from taxpayers.

Mr Noonan said European leaders have acknowledged that Ireland had a "heavy imposition" placed on it.

"While some of it was our own fault, a lot of the action was taken at the direction of the European Central Bank to prevent contagion spreading to the European banking system," Mr Noonan said "As Ronald Reagan used to say, 'we took one for the team.'"

Ireland sought an international aid package in 2010.



Mr Noonan said today the Government is making progress and aims to sell longer-term debt in the first half of this year so that it can have the ECB bond-buying program as a "backstop" to reassure investors.

"I don't think we'd apply to avail of it," he said. "We'd apply to use it as a backstop so that we could access the market, so that lenders would know that it's there."