Honohan: Bailout programme was flawed

There were a number of flaws with Ireland’s EU/IMF bailout programme, although the outcome was much more positive than if the country had tried to avoid official assistance, according to Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan.

At a conference in Dublin Castle organised by the IMF, Mr Honohan said the interest rate on the bailout loans were too high, but these were subsequently reduced.

Moreover, the troika made a mistake in making the Government responsible for recapitalising the banks. This funding should have come from an external source, otherwise it had the potential to put unsustainable pressure on the sovereign. Again, however, this had a much better outcome than he expected, he noted.

Mr Honohan also took issue with the pace that the banks were forced to deleverage and sell off their non-core assets and troubled loanbooks.

However, even without the banking crisis, the Government would have faced a massive fiscal problem when the economy collapsed because the structure of the tax base had become too narrow and far too reliant on property taxes, he added.

The portion of unguaranteed senior bonds that could have been burned was only a fraction of the overall fiscal adjustment.

Speaking to reporters following the conference, Mr Honohan said the Central Bank was still looking at all the submissions made on the proposed loan-to-value and loan-to-income caps.

Ann Nolan, head of financial services at the Department of Finance, said the proposed 20% deposit under the 80% loan-to-value cap could cut the property market off from buyers without parents able to provide a large deposit.

“I don’t think it should be a position where the only people who get on the property ladder are those who have parents who can give them a big lump sum,” said Ms Nolan.

“You can’t have a position where people who are earning their own money, renting a long-term property, and paying more than a mortgage, have a proven track record can never get on the housing market. I don’t think that’s socially acceptable.”


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