THE GOVERNMENT is working to a deadline of the end of October for reaching agreement with the European Union on substantial reductions in the State’s bank debts.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan (above) will table the Government’s first proposals for a revised banking debt arrangement for Ireland at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels next Monday.
However, Mr Noonan, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore have all refused to quantify the scale of bank debt reduction they will seek when negotiations begin in earnest next week, although it is understood officials are working on a possible cut of upwards of half of the total €63 billion spent to date on bailing out the banks.
On Friday, the IMF hinted at a possible debt reduction for Ireland. The Minister For Social Protection took the ball and ran with it.
Another sporting analogy, anyone?
JOAN BURTON’S linking of better terms for Ireland’s bank debt with the fiscal treaty referendum is causing problems for the Government’s campaign, her Labour colleagues have claimed.
Labour Ministers are angry over remarks Ms Burton made in recent days. The Minister for Social Protection has twice linked a reduction in Ireland’s bank debt burden to support for the Yes side.
However, Government sources yesterday told The Irish Times while they are confident a deal reducing the debt will be reached, it is unlikely to be finalised before the vote.
“Joan has deliberately created unnecessary difficulties for the Government and you would have to wonder what game she is playing,” said one senior Labour Party figure.