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Noonan to hold talks with ECB chief Mario Draghi

The Finance Minister will try to get a better deal on Ireland’s bailout as he holds talks with the European Central Bank president today.

Michael Noonan (C) with his Belgian counterpart Steven Vanackers (L) and Greece's finance minister Evangelos Venizelos (R) at a summit in Brussels yesterday.
Michael Noonan (C) with his Belgian counterpart Steven Vanackers (L) and Greece's finance minister Evangelos Venizelos (R) at a summit in Brussels yesterday.
Image: Virginia Mayo/AP/Press Association Images

FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL Noonan will meet with the president of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt today to discuss ways to reduce Ireland’s debt burden.

Noonan will hold talks with Mario Draghi as well as meeting with the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs Olli Rehn on the margins of a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels today.

The finance minister arrived in the Belgian capital yesterday for a meeting of eurozone finance ministers which focused largely on the issue of writing down Greek debt to allow it to receive a tranche of its second bailout.

Noonan is expected to discuss the issue of the €30 billion in promissory notes for the former Anglo Irish Bank – now the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation – with Draghi which the State is paying a comparatively high interest rate of 8.6 per cent on.

The government wants to borrow instead from the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) to retroactively pay for Ireland’s bank bailout at a lower interest rate.

The government will step up its campaign to apply to the EFSF for aid in excess of the €17.7 billion it is due to receive under its EU-IMF bailout programme, the Irish Times reports this morning.

It comes as the State is expected to pay back €1.25 billion to senior Anglo bondholders tomorrow, a controversial payment which the government and the ECB argues is absolutely necessary.

However there have been a number of protests against the payment at former branches of the now defunct Anglo Irish.

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Hugh O'Connell

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