FINANCE MINISTER Michael Noonan will this morning begin a two-day visit to Paris to mark St Patrick’s Day, including a meeting this afternoon with his French counterpart Francois Baroin.
Though the trip is billed as a promotional exercise for St Patrick’s Day – with virtually the entire cabinet heading overseas to try and promote Ireland as an investment and tourism destination – the meeting with Baroin is also likely to see discussions over the ongoing talks on the Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes.
The ministers will meet in Paris this afternoon at 3pm local time, after Noonan attends a tourism promotion and the proprietors of French companies with presences in Ireland.
Ireland will need support from larger European countries like France and Germany if it is to be given a deal on the Anglo promissory notes, on which the first repayment is due at the end of the month.
Although the notes are owed to the Central Bank of Ireland, which created the money itself, the approval of the European Central Bank is needed for any operation which permanently increases the amount of money in circulation.
A strange turn of events in the Oireachtas finance commitee yesterday meant that the government was defeated in a vote on whether or not to invite Central Bank governor Patrick Honohan before the committee later this month.