Doherty: Bailout deal would not save 'a single red cent' for taxpayer

A deal to extend the maturity of Ireland’s bailout loans will not save the taxpayer any money, it has been claimed today.

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesman Pearse Doherty said signals from eurozone finance ministers of a possible extension of the country’s European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) loans were to be welcomed.

But, as Finance Minister Michael Noonan insisted the move could save the State billions of euro, Mr Doherty said more needs to be done – such as securing an interest-rate holiday.

“This is something that would have a real, direct impact on people’s lives but it appears it is has not been achieved,” Mr Doherty said.

“We will examine the details of any agreement to see what has been really achieved.

“The fact is that without a reduction in our interest rates or an interest holiday, as secured by Greece and as called for consistently by Sinn Féin, not a single red cent will be saved by the Irish taxpayer during the lifetime of this Government.”

Mr Noonan revealed last night that Eurogroup officials will consider extending the maturity of the EFSF loans – due to the country’s good progress in meeting its debt targets.

He said this would further enhance Ireland’s debt sustainability, enable its successful return to the markets and ultimately, save the State billions of euro.

The EFSF was introduced in 2010 as a pot of money – funded by eurozone states - to rescue member states hit hardest by the economic crisis.

The aim was to ensure overall financial stability for the eurozone. While the more permanent European Stability Mechanism was created in 2012, existing EFSF programmes for Ireland, Greece and Portugal are ongoing.

Meanwhile, officials from Europe’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) will be asked today to consider extending the terms of other rescue loans from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism.

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