1% reduction on bailout rate already agreed, says Noonan

The issue of the interest rate on Ireland's bailout will not feature on the agenda at the EU summit taking place tomorrow and Friday.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan told the Dáil today that a 1% cut in the interest rate has effectively been agreed and it is now just a case of waiting a "few weeks" for it to be applied.

"It’s actually agreed by the 27 [EU member states] that there'll be a 1% reduction, and then we have the interventions of what quid pro quo Ireland will give, but there’s actually no quid pro quo written into the communiqué," said Minister Noonan.

"There is an actual reduction in the price of monies drawn from the ESF (European Stability Fund), and Ireland is the only one drawing down.

"So I would hope this would be resolved in the coming weeks."

The issue of the interest rate on Ireland's bailout will not feature on the agenda at the EU summit taking place tomorrow and Friday, however.

The Government said that it wants to wait until the results of stress tests on the banks, on March 31, before officially applying for a re-negotiation of the loan.

The news comes despite pledges by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to have the rate cut by the end of this summit earlier this month and during the election campaign.

Speaking in Brussels this evening, a spokesperson for the Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Ollie Rehn, said that he is confident an agreement on a lower interest rate for countries like Ireland can be reached in the next few weeks.

"How we will make the price more affordable for the benficiary countries has not been formally decided yet, but we are very confident that the price of the loans of the ESF will be lower in the future in order to ensure the debt sustainabliltity of the countries we are assisting," he said.

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