Tánaiste: Ratifying treaty will help Ireland renegotiate debt

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has today insisted that ratifying the EU Fiscal Treaty will strengthen Ireland’s hand in renegotiating its bank debt.

Minister Gilmore dismissed German claims that restructuring the Troika rescue arrangements would send a wrong signal to Europe, saying last week’s Yes vote in the referendum has put the country in a more powerful position to ask for a debt write-down.

“The decisive decision that was made by the Irish people on Thursday has certainly strengthened the hand of the Government, giving us added authority in talking to the European institutions and the other European member states,” said Mr Gilmore.

“We are going to continue doing that to secure a deal in relation to our bank debt which is satisfactory for the point of the Irish taxpayers.”

Senior German officials reportedly threw cold water on Ireland’s plans to renegotiate its €60bn-plus bank bailout repayments to the Troika – the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

The Government had also hoped to seek a write-down in its €47bn Anglo Irish Bank promissory note scheme.

However, it is understood Germany has cast doubt on any bank deal on the back of Ireland’s decision to ratify the treaty.

An official said as Ireland is already considered a model bailout State, having its debt restructured now would send the wrong message to other European countries.

Any decision to allow Ireland any kind of debt reprieve would have to be agreed upon unanimously by all European Union leaders.

But a negative response from Germany – one of the largest contributors to the EU bailout funds – would prevent this.

However, Mr Gilmore said it was always the Government’s intention to work towards striking a deal that would benefit the Irish people.

“It has been an objective of this Government from the time we were formed to renegotiate the terms of that bank deal in a way that is better for the point of view for the Irish taxpayer, that eases the burden on the taxpayers, and we are going to continue with our efforts to do that,” he added.

Earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it is unlikely any renegotiations on Ireland’s bank debt will take place this month.

He said other major issues would take centre stage in June, including elections in France and Greece, an assessment of the Spanish banks and the ratification of the fiscal treaty across a number of European countries.

Mr Kenny said he does not expect any decisions to me made in Europe until after those “very serious issues” are addressed.

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