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'Light at end of tunnel' in crisis

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Transport Minister Leo Varadkar says he sees light at the end of the tunnel for Ireland for the first time in the economic crisis

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar says he sees light at the end of the tunnel for Ireland for the first time in the economic crisis

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar says he sees light at the end of the tunnel for Ireland for the first time in the economic crisis

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar says he sees light at the end of the tunnel for Ireland for the first time in the economic crisis.

The Fine Gael minister gave an upbeat assessment of the country's recovery prospects, but warned there still existed "potential minefields along the way".

Mr Varadkar said the eurozone deal that saw a cut in Ireland's bailout interest rate would not solve all problems, but was a "big step" in the right direction.

"Really for the first time in three years, for me, I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel," the transport minister said.

Mr Varadkar said the economy will see growth this year, albeit gradual, while the EU/IMF deal has been renegotiated. He also claimed the cost of the bank bailout is falling.

Eurozone leaders last week agreed a second bailout for Greece, with lower interest rates and a doubling of the period to pay it off.

The softer lending conditions were also applied to Portugal and Ireland, with the latter's bailout interest rate to fall by 2%.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny claimed the cut would save the state between 600 and 800 million euro a year, but Government ministers have warned the better bailout terms would not lead to an easier budget in December.

Mr Varadkar dismissed an argument from Siptu chief Jack O'Connor that he wants the saved revenue to be pumped back into the exchequer to promote economic and jobs growth.

"I don't agree with that, and the money that is saved isn't money that is going to be given to us, it's money that we thought we would have to spend that we now don't have to spend," he told RTE Radio.

PA


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