Kenny expects to do EU deal so that 'we will not have to fork out €3bn'
Taoiseach Enda Kenny expects Ireland to do a deal with the European Union by next March so that “we will not have to fork out €3 billion”.
Opposition TDs pressed him on what Ireland was going to do following the debt deal agreed with Greece on Monday and they highlighted the €3 billion promissory deal due to be paid next March.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald asked during Taoiseach’s questions how Greece, in such a weakened position, could secure an agreement, and achieve some level of recognition and relief while Ireland, “also a special case”, had had “conversations, side-meetings and summits but no result”.
She also asked what specific progress had been made on the promissory note.
Mr Kenny said the intention was that the note “will have been re-engineered in such a way as to ensure we will not have to fork out €3 billion. That is our hope and intent.”
Independent TD Shane Ross, who first raised the issue during Leaders’ Questions, said the Greek deal was “spectacular and it implicitly writes off some of the Greek debt in the period 2016 to 2020. It will also give the Greeks interest rates on some of their loans of 50 basis points which is virtually nothing and extends these loans.”
He said this was something “we have completely and utterly failed to achieve”. He asked if the Taoiseach was prepared to tell the EU, European Commission and the IMF “that we will not be paying the promissory notes on March 31st”.
The Taoiseach reiterated that Greece’s position was “entirely different to those of Ireland and Portugal”.
When Mr Ross asked what Greece had that Ireland did not, Mr Kenny said in Greece the tax-free threshold had been dropped from €12,000 to €5,000 where it was €16,500 for a single person in Ireland.
He said 150,000 public sector jobs in Greece would be cut by 2015, monthly pensions above €1,000 would be reduced by 20 per cent, the minimum wage by 20 per cent from €751 to €600.
The Greek government would have to raise €11 billion through privatisation by 2016 and all the money would have to be used to pay debt.