Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has claimed his bail-out comments were hyped out of all proportion by journalists – after all but sparking an economic crisis.
The Fine Gael deputy was widely rebuked after suggesting that Ireland would need a second EU/IMF bail-out in 2012 and wouldn’t be able to return to the bond markets until at least 2013.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan both had to issue statements to calm the markets in the wake of Varadkar’s comments.
But now the Transport Minister has accused the Sunday Times newspaper of ‘hyping up’ his remarks about a second bail-out.
The Minister also denied that he had been grounded by his cabinet colleagues in the wake of the comments.
In the original comments, made at a Transport briefing, Varadkar had claimed it would be ‘very unlikely’ that Ireland would be a position to borrow from the financial markets next year.
He added: “I think it might take a bit longer. 2013 is possible but who knows.”
It was then reported that Varadkar had said this might mean an extension of Ireland’s agreement with the EU and IMF or even a second bailout.
Speaking to RTE Radio on Thursday morning, Varadkar claimed the comments were hyped up by the Sunday Times.
“The government position on a bailout is clear. Ireland will borrow from the markets in a small way in 2012 and in a full way in 2013.”