Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny is adamant he will cut a deal with the IMF and the EU on bank debt by the end of March – but opposition parties don’t believe him.
Kenny has told Irish state broadcaster RTE that he is confident of doing a deal on Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes within that timeframe.
Fine Gael leader Kenny said: “The deal is central to the Government’s plan for 2013 to exit the EU-IMF bailout programme successfully.
“I am confident that we will secure a deal before the end of March, which is the payment date for the next €3 billion.
“I am always an optimist. I don’t contemplate not getting a deal here.
“Failure would make it very difficult for the Government to exit the bailout programme with a degree of clarity that we need.”
The Irish PM added that legal and financial teams led by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan have been working with the European Central Bank for the past 18 months.
He said: “A promissory note deal has taken so long because it is very complex and highly technical.
“Ireland has fulfilled its part of the bargain and we will look for support committed to us from abroad.
“The impact of getting a deal would be for markets to say Ireland does not need as much money to run its affairs as originally thought, therefore interest rates would fall further.
“Banks could borrow from the markets themselves, have more flexibility and therefore translate that into jobs."
The Irish Times reports that opposition parties are unimpressed by Kenny’s claims.
The Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has accused Kenny of patronising citizens over the promissory note.
Adams said: “In reality it couldn’t be more straightforward - this government needs to stand up for Irish citizens and stop using public money to prop up banks and bankers.
“It needs to put the interests of Ireland first in any negotiations at European level.”
People Before Profit deputy Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The Government may cobble together some PR deal but one that will offer little in the way of real relief.
“It will string the debt, which is unsustainable, out over a long period.”
In the same interview, Kenny ruled out any cabinet reshuffle this year and reiterated his support for Health Minister James Reilly.