EC calls for Irish debt repayments

Wed, Mar 14, 2012, 00:00

The European Commission has said it supports Ireland’s efforts to regain market confidence but that it is “of the utmost importance” that the State honour its debts.

In a statement this afternoon, the commission said it was exploring avenues to further strengthen the domestic banking sector “such that it can better provide credit to the economy and support the recovery” and that it was engaging with Irish officials over the controversial Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes.

The statement followed criticism in the Dáil today of European commissioner for monetary affairs Olli Rehn over comments about Ireland’s promissory note commitments.

The Government will have to pay the €3.1 billion bank debt due within days after the European Commission ruled out delaying the payment in anticipation of a deal to ease Ireland’s banking debt.

Speaking in Brussels yesterday, when asked about flexibility on Ireland’s repayment, Mr Rehn said “each and every member state respects the commitment it has undertaken and this is valid in the case of Ireland as well”.

Accusing Mr Rehn of being “patronising”, Independent TD Shane Ross told the Dáil today the Finnish commissioner embarked “upon a kind of lecture to us and the rest of Europe about our obligations”.

Mr Ross called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to tell the commissioner that Ireland was "not given to taking lectures" from Europe. "You are the most compliant Taoiseach, the most compliant leader in Europe, and I don’t think you should take it from him," the Dublin South TD said. “He went on to tick us off in Latin, no less.”

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