Government seeks bailout deal changes

The Government will reveal proposed changes to its EU/IMF bailout deal today.

The Government will reveal proposed changes to its EU/IMF bailout deal today.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the Government wanted to renegotiate terms of the €85bn rescue package, relating to the minimum wage, budget deficit targets and a jobs creation initiative.

Ongoing talks with the EU/IMF are “to replace some of the conditions we don’t like in the original Memorandum of Understanding”, he said.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton has already signalled the Government’s plans to reverse the cut in the national minimum wage, returning it from €7.65 an hour to €8.65 by the summer.

But the move could involve changes to employment agreements, which give low-paid workers rights, including better pay on Sundays and bank holidays.

It will likely be May before any agreement is officially struck.

Senior figures in Brussels and at the Washington-based IMF will have to rubber-stamp any changes.

Mr Noonan and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin met earlier this week with senior officials from the joint EU/IMF mission in Dublin.

They were told Ireland had met all their targets and could continue to draw down money under the international loans deal, Mr Noonan said.

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