Irish PM Kenny: Seeking Wider Deal To Lessen Bank Debts
First Published Friday, 30th March 2012 07:54 pm - © 2012 Dow Jones
DUBLIN -(Dow Jones)- Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Friday that the agreement with its bailout lenders to refinance an installment on promissory notes for failed banks was a first step in his aim to lighten the debt burden from Ireland's banking crash.
Kenny also pledged that his party will vigorously campaign to persuade Irish voters to endorse the European Union's budget-discipline treaty in a public referendum on May 31.
He was speaking to a major gathering of his governing Fine Gael party--its first convention since the Kenny-led coalition swept to power just over a year ago.
Kenny said Ireland's economic recovery from its banking crisis had been held back by the euro zone's debt crisis. He pledged to pursue negotiations with the EU and International Monetary Fund lenders "to reduce the burden on the Irish people" of its banking debts.
This week, the Irish government announced it had deferred paying a cash installment of EUR3.06 billion to be paid on promissory notes for Anglo Irish Bank Corp. and Irish Nationwide Building Society, now renamed the Irish Bank Resolution Corp. Instead, it will issue a long-term Irish government bond.
He said the decision on Friday by euro-zone finance ministers to boost the firewall of the European rescue funds will help Ireland regain access to international bond markets.
"This decision will both help to prevent contagion and ease Ireland's exit from the EU-IMF program," Kenny said. Ireland was forced to strike a bailout deal with the EU and IMF in late 2010 when the costs of rescuing its banks escalated.
A "resounding" yes vote in the looming EU referendum would boost Ireland's economic recovery, Kenny said, and reassure investors the country will have access, like others, to Europe's permanent bailout fund--the European Stability Mechanism.
"The issue at stake in this referendum is straightforward: Will we do what is needed to keep getting jobs back and get Ireland working?" said Kenny.
Last month, Kenny said on foot of legal advice Ireland's participation in the new EU fiscal union required it pass a referendum.