Ireland flags extension of bailout beyond 2013

DUBLIN - Eurozone countries have agreed to keep funding Ireland beyond 2013 if it is not able to tap debt markets, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said on Friday, signalling for the first time doubts about Dublin’s ability to regain its economic sovereignty.

By Carmel Crimmins (Reuters)

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Published: Sat 23 Jul 2011, 11:15 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:38 AM

Eurozone leaders agreed a second rescue package for Greece at an emergency summit in Brussels on Thursday and Noonan said part of the deal involved a pledge to keep propping up Ireland and Portugal provided they were meeting targets under their existing rescue programmes.

“There is a commitment that if countries continue to fulfil the conditions of their programme the European authorities will continue to supply them with money even when the programme is concluded,” Noonan told Irish state broadcaster RTE. “The commitment is now written in that if we are not back in the markets the European authorities will give us money until we get back in the markets.”

Noonan insisted such support would not constitute a second bailout, on top of last year’s €85 billion EU-IMF rescue deal, but analysts said he was playing with words.

Dublin has enough funding under its current bailout to see it through till the end of 2013 but with a near €12 billion bond redemption looming in January 2014, many investors believe the government will start seeking additional official assistance sometime in 2013.

The government has said it will make a tentative return to bond markets next year, likely by issuing treasury bills, followed by bonds in 2013 but that does not exclude them also tapping official creditors.

Ireland will need nearly €34 billion to cover its budget deficit and maturing debt in 2014 and 2015.

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