Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Troika says Republic of Ireland should get seven more years to repay bailout cash

The Republic of Ireland should get an extra seven years to repay bailout loans from Europe, according to a confidential discussion paper from the troika.

The troika agreed last month to extend the repayment time for the loans, but not how long the extension should be.

But a seven-year extension would mean that no bailout loans would have to be repaid this decade, which would make it easier for the Irish government to increase spending or reduce taxes.

The recommendation is now likely to be discussed by EU finance ministers meeting in Dublin this weekend, although a final decision is not likely until next month.

European officials have been looking at ways of lengthening the repayment dates on loans secured from two European bailout pots under the rescue package first agreed in 2010.

The Republic received €17.7bn from the European Financial Stability Facility and an additional €22.5bn from the European Financial Stability Mechanism.

The average maturity on the EU loans stands at about 12 years, but some loans are due to be repaid in 2015, while others are not due to be repaid for decades.

The officials considered extensions of two-and-a-half, five, seven and 10 years and more, rejecting the shorter extensions as not beneficial enough for Ireland and Portugal.

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