Belfast Telegraph

Hopes dashed of bank debt deal

Hopes for a deal to ease Ireland's bank debt before the Budget have been dashed, with the Taoiseach hinting it could be the new year before it takes effect.

Original plans to restructure the country's bailout payments to the Troika by the end of this month were delayed, with Finance Minister Michael Noonan admitting he was aiming for a resolution by December 5.

But Enda Kenny said while he hoped for a timely conclusion, reaching the right agreement was his priority.

"I would like to think it could be concluded by the end of the year, but it's important to get the right decision and that's where our focus is," said Mr Kenny. "What's important is distinct from naming a particular date."

He pointed out that while European Commissioner Olli Rehn originally earmarked October as the deadline, there were other considerations involved.

"Will we have a conclusion by the end of the year? You will recall Commissioner Rehn said he would like to see it finished by the end of October but I made the point I didn't think that was practical," he added. "There are other considerations for other countries with whom we are talking."

Earlier, the president of the European Parliament insisted the European Union should honour its commitment to Ireland to ease the debt burden.

Martin Schulz said Europe must live up to its commitments and show the same solidarity as the Irish Government showed in the financial collapse.

"You took the burden on your shoulders to avoid the crash of the system of all the other countries, also my country," said Mr Schulz, during an address to the Dail. "Therefore I find the 27% German participation in the package for Ireland is to give back solidarity to the country that gave solidarity to us." He added that he was optimistic leaders would stick to a June agreement on separating bank and sovereign debt.

The 27 heads of state and governments also agreed at the summit to work towards restructuring Ireland's repayments to its debt masters the Troika - the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission.

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