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Noonan and Howlin to meet with German finance minister today

Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin meet with Wolfgang Schauble at Farmleigh House in Dublin today where discussions on Ireland’s legacy bank debt are sure to come up.

Noonan speaking to Schauble last year
Noonan speaking to Schauble last year
Image: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP/Press Association Images

FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL Noonan and Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin will meet with the German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble in Dublin today.

The three will meet at Farmleigh House where the issue of Ireland’s €64 billion in legacy bank debt is expected to be on the agenda.

The meeting is part of Ireland’s upcoming presidency of the European Union which begins on 1 January but much of the discussion will likely revolve around the ongoing negotiations concerning Ireland’s bank debt.

The meeting today comes ahead of a talks in Berlin this Thursday between Taoiseach Enda Kenny and German chancellor Angela Merkel with the pair having issued a joint statement on Ireland’s debt sustainability just over a week ago.

Ireland is looking for some sort of action that will relieve the burden of the debt taken on when it bailed out the banks but Germany has resisted attempts for this to be done through use of the eurozone bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism.

Despite this, Noonan has praised Schauble for his help in securing changes to Ireland’s EU-IMF bailout programme, specifically the reduction in the interest rate Ireland pays on its emergency loans.

The Irish Times reports that German officials are keen to explore the reworking of the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note which would improve Ireland’s debt sustainability at the meeting today.

The promissory note involves some €30 billion with Irish officials also said to be keen to concentrate on this in the hope that legacy bank debt could be returned to when there is a promise of political progress, Derek Scally writes.

The note – effectively an IOU to despositors and creditors of the now defunct Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide – is currently the subject of technical discussions with the European Central Bank.

Read: Cyprus close to deal on becoming fourth bailed-out Eurozone country

Read: ECB chief backs plans for EU to get veto on national budgets

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Hugh O'Connell

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