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Eurobond plan won't delay referendum, says Noonan

Meanwhile, Pearse Doherty says Sinn Féin would be interested in eurobonds – depending on the terms involved.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

MINISTER MICHAEL NOONAN has dismissed calls to defer Ireland’s ratification of the Fiscal Compact Treaty in light of the new French president’s support for the establishment of a eurobond system for raising funds.

Hollande has claimed that eurobonds, which have been suggested before in relation to the eurozone crisis, could help stimulate growth and support ailing economies.

Noonan said today that even if the eurobond plan gains momentum, it is too late for Ireland to defer the Fiscal Treaty referendum and ratification.

“Our timetable is fixed and it’s fixed in law because the legislation has gone through the Dáil,” Michael Noonan told RTÉ Radio’s This Week.

“And the commission on the referendum made it clear that even if the government wanted to defer, they don’t have the legal competence now to defer because the people at this point own the referendum and they’re entitled to have a vote on the 31 May.”

When pressed on the issue of eurobonds, Noonan said that “anything that assists us in getting growth into the economy, getting jobs into the economy, or stabilising the euro to give more confidence across Europe and as a consequence leads to more growth in Ireland, we’ll support that regardless of which country proposes it.”

Responding to Noonan’s comments, Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said that his party would be interested in a eurobond programme – depending on the type of bond involved:

Eurobonds isn’t just simply one simple solution; there’s a number of variants in different types of eurobonds that could be brought forward. We’d like to see some type of eurobond that would be backed by the ECB, that it would be the ECB instead of national sovereigns that would be taking the risk in lending to individual banks.

Doherty also criticised “bully-b0y tactics that we won’t have any funding” if a ‘no’ vote succeeds in the referendum, saying Citigroup economists recently indicated that they believe Ireland could have access to further bailout funding even if the treaty is rejected.

Citigroup said in a note on Friday that it its economists believe “a second programme would be forthcoming if requested” even if voters reject the Fiscal Treaty.

“”With Ireland’s high government debt level and low potential growth, the risk of eventual government debt restructuring (PSI, Official Sector Involvement or both) also is likely to persist,” the note was quoted by Bloomberg.

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