IMF sets up Irish office to oversee bailout

Sat, Oct 8, 2011, 01:00

THE INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund has, for the first time,appointed a resident representative in Dublin to oversee its programme of support to Ireland.

The European Commission, one of the IMF’s partners in the troika that funded Ireland’s bailout, has also assigned an official to Dublin.

The IMF representative, Peter Breuer, is based in the Central Bank’s office on Dame Street, but is not on the staff of the bank or the Department of Finance.

The EU representative, Nigel Nagarajan, is working out of the commission’s office in Dublin.

While IMF officials, most notably Ajai Chopra, have become familiar figures in Dublin since Ireland’s bailout by the IMF, EU and European Central Bank troika late last year, up to now the organisations have operated exclusively by sending in staff on short-term visits.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan insisted there was nothing unusual about the appointment of resident representatives, which were a “normal feature” of support programmes.

The IMF had representatives in more than a dozen countries in Europe, mostly in areas where it was providing financial support, he said, and the EU had adopted a similar approach, beginning with a strong of office in eastern European countries.

Mr Noonan said the resident representatives would liaise between the IMF and the European Commission respectively and Irish authorities, build relationships in broader society and help the EU and the IMF “deepen their understanding of conditions on the ground”.

“They support the authorities by explaining the views of the IMF and the EU and by keeping the EU and IMF abreast of economic and social developments in the country,” he told Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath.

Mr Breuer, a German national, moved from Washington to take up his post in Dublin last month. He joined the IMF in 1998 and was previously assigned to the monetary and capital markets department. He holds a PhD in economics from Brown University in the US and an MSc from the London School of Economics.

Mr Nagarajan had been counsellor and head of economic and financial affairs at the EU delegation to the US in Washington. Before that, he worked in the commission in Brussels on economic and monetary union, exchange rates and international economic issues.

Born in India, he is a British citizen and studied at Oxford and the University of London before working for the British government and in industry.