Noonan rejects bailout talk


Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has described speculation that Ireland may need a second bailout as "ludicrous".

Speaking on his way into Government Buildings this morning, Mr Noonan told reporters Ireland was fully funded until the latter part of next year.

"It's ludicrous to be talking about a second bailout," he said, adding that the Government is meeting all the targets of its current programme.

“We’re a year into the rescue programme which was negotiated by the previous government and we’re fully funded until the back end of 2013. So it’s really speculation by economists who at the start of the year speculate on these matters.”

Mr Noonan was  referring to comments earlier this week by Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter, who said Ireland should consider a second stand-by bailout programme in advance of a last minute application.

Yesterday, a spokesman for EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn said it was “not particularly helpful” to fuel speculation.

“What is important and essential in the case of Ireland is to ensure the continuation of the good job done by the Irish authorities in the full implementation of the programme,” said the commissioner’s spokesman in Brussels.

The sentiment was echoed by Minister of State for Finance Brian Hayes who said yesterday that Ireland was in the middle of a programme with the troika that was achieving everything it had set out to achieve.

“Our focus in the programme is to get Ireland back to the markets as quickly as possible. This speculation is neither helpful nor productive,” said Mr Hayes.

Senior officials from the EU Commission, IMF and ECB are currently in Dublin to conduct their fifth evaluation of Ireland’s implementation of the bailout programme.

Troika officials met Department of Finance general secretary Kevin Cardiff and officials from Nama and the NTMA in Merrion Street yesterday.