Ireland is still paying a higher interest rate on our national debt than Greece, Italy and Spain, despite claims years of crippling austerity measures have left the country in a better position than other recession-hit nations, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner Political Reporter.
Senior officials from the National Treasury Management Agency confirmed the situation at a detailed meeting with the Dáil's cross-party public accounts committee yesterday, amid claims the situation means Ireland is being charged €2bn more than Greece every year.
Responding to questions from PAC chair and Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming, NTMA chief executive Conor O Kelly confirmed Ireland is currently being hit with a 3.3% interest rate on our national debate.
The high-ranking financial expert confirmed Italy and Spain have an interest rate of 3.1% each, while Greece is facing a rate of just 2.1%.
Mr Fleming lashed out at the situation, saying the "international comparisons are mind boggling" and must be immediately addressed.
However, while accepting it appears unfair, Mr O Kelly said the reality is Ireland's debt is mainly foreign compared to the domestic-focussed debts of Italy and Spain - meaning it will take longer to impact on rates - while the cut-price rate given to Greece is simply because the country cannot cope with a higher cost.
"It's [foreign debt as opposed to domestic debt] like moving the Titanic, it takes a little while longer but it does move," the NTMA chief executive said.