Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan has warned the EU that he will not allow another Greek bail-out to threaten Ireland’s financial recovery.
Just days after he threatened to burn senior bondholders in Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide, Noonan was back on the war trail at an EU meeting in Luxemburg.
The emergency talks are designed to solve the latest Greek debt crisis as a default by the Athens government looks more and more likely.
But Noonan, still seeking a reduction in the interest rate charged on the EU/IMF bail-out for Ireland, is adamant he will block any new Greek deal that damages the Irish deal.
“The primary Irish interest here is to ensure any solution which is put in place doesn’t contain elements which would affect us adversely,” said Minister Noonan.
“We’ll certainly be saying no contagion for Ireland, regardless of what the provisions are.”
Analysts believe Noonan’s stance is designed to ensure there are no further draconian measures imposed on Ireland in the wake of a second bail-out for the Greeks.
“It’ll depend on the measures that are put in place, but in very simple language, we don’t want any knock-on effects from the Greek deal which would work against Ireland’s interests; and I think, so far, that is not going to happen,” added Noonan.
The Minister and his advisors from the Department of Finance are well aware that any Greek default will downgrade Euro Zone debt and leading to a ratings downgrade for Ireland.
Currently rated as ‘investment grade’, Ireland’s debt would quickly fall to junk status in the wake of any new Greek deal or default.
Noonan also confirmed on his arrival in Luxemburg that he has yet to hear any response from the European Central bank in relation to his threat to burn bondholders in Anglo and Irish Nationwide.
“We’ve certainly had no direct contact at all which would suggest there was any veracity in that,” said Minister Noonan.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore has backed Noonan in his stance against the senior bondholders and confirmed that the Finance chief was merely stating government policy in America last week.
“Michael Noonan outlined the settled policy of this Government when he made the proposal in Washington,” said Gilmore.
“That is that we want to minimize the burden that the Irish taxpayer has to bear for the losses of the banks.
“The Government will continue its efforts to impose losses on senior bondholders in Anglo and Irish Nationwide, as well as campaigning for a cut in the interest rate on our bailout loans.”