Government to decide on ESM support before bailout ends - Kenny

Friday 25 October 2013 22.03
Enda Kenny said there were a range of views from other EU leaders on Ireland's options
Enda Kenny said there were a range of views from other EU leaders on Ireland's options

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the Government will decide on whether or not to avail of an EU precautionary support programme before Ireland formally exits its bailout programme on 15 December.

He said that none of the talks the Government has had with its lenders so far had touched on the question of the conditionality of any credit line, should the Government choose one.

Speaking at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, Mr Kenny said there were a range of views from other EU leaders about whether or not Ireland should opt for a precautionary programme.

However, officials later clarified his remarks, saying that there was no formal discussion of the issue at the summit.

Any exchanges were "in the margins" and informal, officials stressed.

They added that some EU heads of government were "curious" about the modalities of leaving a bailout programme, but beyond that had expressed no firm views.

Mr Kenny said, however, that he would be holding further talks with EU leaders before the Government made its decision.

The Taoiseach told reporters that Ireland was in a "very favourable" position in terms of its cash buffers as it moved towards a bailout exit. 

He added that economic growth was projected to rise.

He said that no matter what decision Ireland made, the State would have the credibility, respect and support of Ireland's EU partners.

When asked if German Chancellor Angela Merkel had reassured him that European bailout funds from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) could be used to support Irish banks, Mr Kenny insisted that the pledges to Ireland on legacy debt made in June 2012 had already been reaffirmed both by Chancellor Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.

He said the principle of breaking the link between bank and sovereign debt had been enshrined in today's summit conclusions, and he was "happy with the outcome".

Last week, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble appeared to rule out retroactive ESM support for Irish banks.

Mr Kenny said today that Ireland would be returning to the issue of ESM funds and Ireland's pillar banks since nothing would be agreed until the first element of the proposed Banking Union - a single bank supervisor under the auspices of the ECB - was in place.

Separately, Mr Kenny said he had not been contacted by gardaí regarding any possible monitoring of his mobile phone, nor had he made any complaint to the gardaí.

Mr Kenny repeated his view that if Chancellor Merkel's phone had been monitored by the US authorities then it was "appalling", but he said she wanted to "move on" and look to the future.

When asked about possible US surveillance of Irish telephone calls and emails, Mr Kenny said he had not raised any of these issues with the US.