Noonan confident on bailout review


Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said he expects Ireland will have met all its targets under its EU-IMF bailout programme, as officials from the International Monetary Fund, the EU Commission and the European Central Bank begin their sixth quarterly assessment..

As the delegation of troika officials arrived at the Department of Finance this morning to begin its 10-day review of how Ireland is performing under the bailout programmes, Mr Noonan predicted Ireland would come out of the review positively.

Mr Noonan also said there was a new relationship to establish with with the new representative appointed by the ECB to lead its Irish mission from May. Diego Rodriguez-Palenzuela is to take over as lead official in the Troika talks.

The issue of promissory notes is expected to be a central focus for discussions between Government officials and the troika.

While the Government did succeed in converting a €3.06 billion annual payment due at the end of last month into a long-term bond, the discussions on the wider issue of the €30 billion promissory note issued primarily to Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide has not been resolved as yet.

Officials from the three institutions are working on a technical paper, but it is unlikely to be completed until later in the year.

Mr Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin will meet today with the heads of mission from the three institutions. They are Ajai Chopra, the European deputy director of the IMF, the ECB’s chief economist Klaus Masuch and Istvan Szekely of the European Commission.

But the troika will not meet with opposition parties during its latest visit to Dublin.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams criticised the decision, describing it as an affront to democracy.

“It is not clear whether the refusal to meet opposition parties is a decision of the Troika or a decision at the request of the Government," he said.

“Whatever the reason it is completely unacceptable for the Troika to refuse to meet opposition parties. It is an affront to democracy and an insult to our mandates and electorate."

Among the other big issues that will be discussed will be the future of Permanent TSB, which will have to be decided by the end of April, according to the memorandum.

Officials from the commission and the IMF will also look very closely at the latest set of economic figures. While ahead of target, some analysts suggest the growth figures on which the Government is working are too optimistic.

The Government also published a spate of legislation and draft legislation towards the end of March. There were also requirements in relation to bringing forward proposals on water charges, labour-market reform and identifying State assets most suitable for disposal.