FF: German Minister's comments 'will provide little comfort to Irish families'

Opposition parties have today criticised the lack any firm commitments said at the meeting between Ministers Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble.

FF: German Minister's comments 'will provide little comfort to Irish families'

Opposition parties have today criticised the lack any firm commitments said at the meeting between Ministers Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble.

Earlier today, Minister Schauble referred to Ireland as a "special case" and saud the the Eurogroup "will continue to take this into account".

Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath said: "Four months on from the June summit heralded as a ‘game changer’ by the Irish Government, the promised deal on Ireland’s banking debt seems to be slipping further and further into the distance.

"Ominously, the German Finance Minister echoed the views of ECB President Mario Draghi that it could be into 2014 before the single supervisory mechanism would be fully operational – a necessary condition for the possible direct recapitalisation of banks by the ESM.

"It is apparent now that the Irish Government is not confident that a deal on bank debt involving the ESM can be done in the next 12 months and is now concentrating on the promissory note.

"We can only assume that Ministers Noonan and Howlin asked Mr Schauble if he still holds the view – expressed jointly last month in a hard line statement with the Dutch and Finnish Finance Ministers – that the ESM could not be used to deal legacy debt.

"Certainly in his public comments today, Mr. Schauble did not in any way unwind those comments.

"Following today’s meeting, we are none the wiser as to what Ireland’s ‘special case’ status will mean when it comes to securing a deal on bank debt.

"Mr Schauble’s comments about how well Ireland is doing will provide little comfort to thousands of families across the country afflicted by mortgage arrears, unemployment and emigration.

"Mr Schauble seems to hold the false view any suggestion of a deal on bank debt would undermine the impression that is held abroad about how well Ireland is doing.

"Mr Schauble expressed his total confidence that Ireland will not need a second bailout programme but doesn’t seem to realise that reaching an overall deal on the cost of recapitalising Irish banks will greatly assist Ireland’s efforts to successfully exit the existing programme.

"Without such a deal on bank debt and if tangible economic growth remains elusive, Mr Schauble’s confidence could well prove to be misguided."

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, Pearse Doherty TD said that "no clarity was provided on the issue of the state’s legacy debt".

The Donegal South West TD also said that "effectively the matter has been parked until the second half of 2013".

Deputy Doherty said: "Today’s press conference ... shed no new light on the issue of legacy debt.

"No clarity was provided and no new information was provided. Effectively the matter has been parked until the second half of 2013 and possibly until after the German elections in September.

"The German Finance Minister was asked on a number of occasions to state whether he believed a deal on the legacy debt was possible or desirable. On each occasion he declined to comment.

"There is no evidence of any shift in the opposition of the German government on the matter of legacy debt. Nothing said at today’s press conference contradicts the clear statement against ESM funds being used to retrospectively recapitalise banks by Angela Merkel on Friday, October 19."

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