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Irish report Irish report
by Euro Reporter
2012-11-23 07:25:20
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Ireland and IMF taking steps to prepare for bailout exit in 2013

A number of measures, including access to dedicated credit lines, are to be put in place to ease Ireland’s exit from the bailout programme, the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, said yesterday.

Speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce’s annual Thanksgiving lunch, Mr Noonan said the IMF was preparing a policy paper outlining transitional measures that Ireland should take as it exited the bail-out programme, which would be presented to the Minister for Finance before Christmas. In parallel, Irish officials are drawing up a policy paper from the Irish side.

While access to a dedicated credit line is one transitional measure being considered, Mr Noonan said the NTMA should be required to hold about €16 billion or €17 billion of cash on hand, which would allow the state to be funded for up to 18 months, as a protection “against all eventualities. We are positioned to get back into the markets at low interest rates in 2013,” Mr Noonan said, pointing out that ESB, Bord Gais and Bank of Ireland had raised money on the markets recently. The Minister for Finance also reiterated the importance of the 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate. “We are under no pressure whatsoever. Not only is it a non-negotiable rate, nobody is asking us to do anything with it. In the European community, tax rates are a matter for sovereign governments and this tax rate remains at 12.5 per cent and will not be changed.”


No deal on Ireland's bank debt before the end of the year

Enda Kenny has said that there would be no deal on Ireland's bank debt before the end of the year. "The situation is that there will not be a decision on this before the next European Council meeting and before the end of the year,'' the Taoiseach said in Brussels today. He made his comments after a speech at the Konrad Adenauer foundation, a German think tank, ahead of the summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

The Taoiseach said he hoped that during negotiations on the creation of an EU banking union next year, Ireland's bank debt would be dealt with "in parallel" by finance ministers. Mr Kenny said that following his discussions with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Francois Hollande it had been concluded that Ireland was "a special case". He said that that would be taken into account during 2013 when finance ministers discuss the creation of a new EU banking union and a banking supervision mechanism.

"We hope that during the course of 2013 our Minister for Finance will progress in that understanding and that decision, and that it will be recognised in those discussions," he said. Mr Kenny said that the bank debt issue comprised the recapitalisation of Irish banks which had already taken place, and the Anglo promissory notes. He said he hoped that both elements required that the level of debt, which he described as a crushing burden, had to be "re-engineered".


Over 70pc of Ireland’s electricity could be produced from renewable resources by 2030

More than 70pc of Ireland's electricity could be produced from renewable resources by 2030, a new report out today has claimed. The research commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Northern Ireland said the availability of energy from wind, wave and sustainable biomass was significantly larger than the projected demand for the next 18 years.  Geoff Nuttall, head of WWF, said: "We hope this is a contribution to tackling the big challenges we have on the island of Ireland in relation to energy.  "We do have an urgent issue in relation to our energy. We are importing 99pc of our primary energy needs from fossil fuels."

It is estimated that the current oil supply to Ireland will only last for another 54 years while gas could run out in 63 years' time.  Malachy Campbell, a policy officer with WWF, called for governments on both sides of the Irish border to make development of a low carbon economy a political and economic priority.  "There are many reasons why we need to decarbonise," he told a conference at the MAC theatre in Belfast.  "Firstly, the situation we are currently in is unsustainable. The almost ridiculous reliance (99pc) on fossil fuels costs £2.3m a year in Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland is only marginally better.  "The potential for renewable for energy is enormous - up to 60 times the projected demand." 

It was claimed that Ireland should follow countries like Denmark which aims to be fossil fuel free by 2050. Mr Campbell said Scotland was also blazing a trail by setting ambitious targets that could save £325m a year by reducing energy levels by 12pc by 2020. "We can save money by doing this," he added. "Why are we not doing it?" Delegates at the conference were told that previous research by the Carbon Trust suggested that investment in renewable energy could create more than 30,000 new jobs in Northern Ireland in a sector that could be worth almost £1bn. Paul Gardner from Garrad Hassan, a renewable energy consultancy firm which carried out the study for WWF, said: "If we manage to get electricity down by 2030 then general decarbonisation of the economy is feasible.”There is an enormous resource. If we tried to do it we could produce far more electricity than would ever be needed. The problem is how to solve the long, cold calm spell. But, it could be made to work."

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