Kenny rules out payment delays

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has ruled out any restructuring of Ireland’s bailout deal, drawing the ire of opposition parties which have accused the Government of reneging on its election promises.

Ireland was not looking for further time to pay back money owed and was committed to paying back all funds borrowed, Mr Kenny pledged yesterday.

He also said there were no sideline negotiations with EU states on caving into demands for a common tax base for businesses across the union, including Ireland.

But as the euro crisis in Greece continued, with fears Athens cannot afford its bailout and will have to restructure its debt, Mr Kenny ruled out such a move for Ireland.

Speaking in Kildare, Mr Kenny said: “We will repay our loans, we will not restructure our debt. We are not looking for any further time, we’re going to meet this challenge as we are already meeting under the conditions set out in the EU/IMF deal.”

He stressed Ireland still wanted “improvements in the package” such as a cut in the bailout interest rate.

But Fianna Fáil earlier in the Dáil accused the Taoiseach and Government of doing a U-turn on promises made in the election campaign.

Fine Gael had placed great emphasis on renegotiating a “fairer” bailout to voters, while Labour pushed for a longer term to pay back Ireland’s debts and some form of debt restructuring.

Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin yesterday accused the Government of reneging on the election pledges.

“Clearly, the position has changed dramatically since they entered government,” he said.

Mr Martin also said there was confusion over Ireland’s position on EU proposals for a common consolidated corporate tax base, following reports that Finance Minister Michael Noonan was in talks with Germany on the issue.

But Mr Kenny reiterated his position that the plans for a common tax basefor businesses were an attempt to introduce tax harmonisation by the back door.

“We have a healthy scepticism about the proposal made,” he told TDs.


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