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Regling: Irish to be rewarded by markets

Friday, January 17 16:32:58

The gods of the markets will cast their benevolent gaze on Ireland and reward us for paying every cent back to the speculators and bondholders in our busted banks and loading all of the burden on taxpayers' backs.

That's the gist of what ESM bailout fund boss, Klaus Regling, had to say today regarding the Irish Government's hopes that our "good" behaviour in following the Troika's laws to the letter would be rewarded by some assistance on legacy bank debt.

He said that the reduction in Ireland's borrowing costs can be attributed at least in part to the decision not to impose losses on senior bank bondholders.

At the same time, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said he was not "flying on one wing waiting for European assistance" in respect of its stalled campaign to have the ESM shoulder some of Ireland's historic banking losses. This was an issue to be dealt next year, the Minister added.

In Dublin today for talks with Mr Noonan and Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan, Mr Regling said there was no unanimous support in the euro zone for such aid to be granted.

Finance Minister, Michael Noonand and Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism met today with a joint statement giving no indication that Mr Regling has changed him mind in relation to helping Ireland with legacy debts.

Mr Nonan described the talks as "very constructive" but the joint statement contained nothing new.

It said: Ireland has undergone a major transformation in recent years and is now well positioned to grow and create jobs in the years ahead. Having been frozen out of the markets in 2010, the commitment of the Irish people and the support of funding from the IMF and the EU including the EFSF (the predecessor to the ESM) enabled Ireland to make the necessary fiscal adjustment over a phased period and to make a full return to the financial markets. The success of the Irish programme is evident and Ireland is now viewed as a safe place to invest. The market reaction to Ireland's exit strategy and in particular the very strong investor appetite for last week's 2024 Bond highlights the positive sentiment towards Ireland in the financial markets."

Earlier this week, Mr Regling reiterated his belief that there is no political consensus within the euro group to grant retroactive direct bank recapitalisation to Ireland.

Addressing the economic and monetary affairs committee in Strasbourg, Mr Regling said that while there was agreement to look at retroactive direct recapitalisation on a case-by-case basis, there was "no consensus to do this retroactively".

"I don't see that consensus to be there," he said in response to a question by Irish MEP Emer Costello, noting that under the ESM treaty a decision required unanimity from member states.