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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Ireland is now really thinking about what happens if Greece leaves the eurozone

The government has confirmed talks with the Central Bank and the NTMA about the implications of Greece exiting the eurozone.

Europe Greece Bailout Michael Noonan with his Greek counterpart Yanis Varoufakis Source: Virginia Mayo

THE GOVERNMENT HAS held high level talks with the Central Bank and the NTMA about the implications for Ireland of Greece exiting the eurozone.

News of the talks comes amid an ongoing impasse between the Greek government and its international creditors over its bailout deal.

Greece has until the end of the month to agree a new deal with lenders or face defaulting on a €1.6 billion payment due to the IMF. This could ultimately lead to Greece exiting the single currency.

Speaking in Brussels last night, Finance Minister Michael Noonan confirmed for the first time that talks had taken place “at a high level” with the Central Bank in Dublin and officials at the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), which manages the assets and liabilities of the state.

noonan greece

We don’t think there will be a contagion effect if there was a Greek exit but we’ve had conversations at a high level with the NTMA and with the Central Bank and we’re watching the situation and we’re taking advice from the ECB in Frankfurt and from elsewhere, but it’s a European issue rather than an Irish issue.

An emergency summit of EU leaders will take place in Brussels next week in a bid to broker a deal with backroom negotiations likely to take place over the weekend.

Noonan said there was still time for more discussions and for Greece to present a further set of proposals but said that the EU an IMF had gone “as far as they’re gonna go”.

Speaking in Dublin this afternoon, Taoiseach Enda Kenny also confirmed that there had been “advice and consultation” taken from the Central Bank and the NTMA.

“I don’t have figures of what that [a Greek default] might mean [for Ireland] but I think what it will mean in Greece would be a very rapid spiral to a serious social set of consequences,” he said.

“That’s why it’s most important that the integrity of the union and the eurozone be continued here.” 

Kenny admitted he did not know what the outcome of next week’s summit will be but said that instability was hurting Greece and would have consequences for the Greek people.

Read: Greek banks could be just days away from running out of money

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Hugh O'Connell

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