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Dublin: 23 °C Wednesday 23 July, 2014

The 30-year-old documents that unintentionally planned for Ireland’s IMF bailout

“The increase…would also increase the amount of IMF credit potentially available to Ireland should circumstances ever arise…”

Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan in November 2010.
Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan in November 2010.
Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive/Press Association Images

IF YOU EVER doubted that decisions made at government level can have ramifications decades down the line, just read these four pages.

The documents, released under the 30 Year Rule, show the Taoiseach authorising an increase of £110.9 million (from £206.1 million to £304.4 million) in Ireland’s quota subscription in the International Monetary Fund.

The quota is significant to members as it determines the amount of its contribution and its voting power in the body.

But most importantly – as recognised by Garret Fitzgerald’s government in 1983 – it increases the amount of credit potentially available to a country if faced with serious balance of payments difficulties.

In general, it is practice to review the quota every five years but it was brought forward in 1983 due to heavy demands on the IMF for loans in the first years of the decade form developing countries.

Although other countries had to pass legislation to push through the increase, Ireland vested the power in the Central Bank which was responsible for paying into the Fund.

The Central Bank wanted to consent to the increase, as did the Minister for Finance Alan Dukes who said it was important that Ireland supports the IMF’s efforts to “promote stable international financial conditions which are in Ireland’s interests as well as those of other member countries of the Fund”.

“The increase in our quota would also increase the amount of IMF credit potentially available to Ireland should circumstances ever arise where we needed to borrow from the Fund,” he added.

The 30-year-old documents that unintentionally planned for Ireland’s IMF bailout
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For further study, see National Archives Ref 2013/100/412

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