Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Second Irish bailout not required

German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble ruled out any need for another rescue package for Ireland

Ireland will not need a second bailout, Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schauble has declared.

After meeting his Irish counterpart Michael Noonan and public spending minister Brendan Howlin, Mr Schauble ruled out any need for another rescue package.

"I have every confidence that Ireland is on track," he said. Asked if a second bailout would be needed to cope with the country's banking debts, he insisted it was clear from recent EU and International Monetary Fund reports that it would not.

Mr Schauble said Ireland remains a "special case" in the eurozone. He also claimed there was a misunderstanding over reports that he was against any deal to help Ireland cope with its 64 billion euro banking debts. Others, outside Ireland, had unrealistic expectations of a deal on banking debts, he added.

"We know it's a very specific situation in Ireland, Ireland is a special case," he said. "The Eurogroup will continue to take this into account.

"On the other hand, we agree we have to avoid any announcement which could be misunderstood in a way that everyone in the world is thinking the actual programme for Ireland does not work well, because it works well, and that is the most important thing."

Mr Schauble met privately with Mr Noonan and Mr Howlin at Farmleigh in Dublin for 40 minutes, before department officials joined them. They also discussed Ireland's taking over the EU presidency next year as well as overall problems within the Eurogroup.

Mr Noonan said Germany and Ireland continued to enjoy a close relationship, and praised Mr Schauble in particular. "He has been helpful in advancing the Irish programme and been supportive of Ireland processing the programme successfully and our ambition to get back to the markets at sustainable interest rates," he added.

But Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath said uncertainty remains over whether Ireland can strike a deal on its banking debts. He said: "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 McGrath said that, without such a deal or tangible economic growth, Mr Schauble's confidence could prove misguided.

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