The last piece of debt sold by the State before it entered the bailout programme matures today.

Much of the €8.8 billion of debt was sold in October 2007 at a yield of 4.58%. 

An auction on 21 September 2010 saw €1 billion of the bond sold at an average rate of over 6%.

Following this auction, concerns about the country's finances saw the yield on Irish debt rise further, ultimately pricing the State out of the bond markets.

In late November of that year, the Government agreed to the Troika bailout programme, which saw it borrow €67.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund, the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism, and the European Financial Stability Facility, as well as Denmark, Sweden and the UK.

Since returning to the market the State has secured considerably lower yields, thanks in large part to the European Central Bank setting its key interest rate at zero.

Last year the National Treasury Management Agency borrowed €16.2 billion at a weighted average rate of 0.89%. So far this year the debt raised by the State has had an average rate of 1.1%.

Frank O'Connor, NTMA Director of Funding and Debt Management, said that this maturity is the latest example of the extent to which Ireland is benefiting from lower interest rates by replacing older, higher-yielding debt with new debt issued at significantly lower yields. 

"Today's maturity comes a week after we issued the first-ever Irish Sovereign Green Bond, a 12-year instrument that raised €3 billion at a yield of 1.399%," Mr O'Connor said. 

"Our debt servicing costs for 2018 will be less than €6 billion - far below the €10 billion that was once forecast," he added.