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Ireland ‘should secure better deal on international debt’

Ireland should secure a better deal on its international debt as part of the next Programme for Government, campaigners said.

The Social Justice Ireland think tank warned the Republic still faced a 64 billion euro burden and claimed it impeded long term economic prospects.

Its report said European authorities should relax the terms around Government bonds which the country issued to lenders in exchange for interest payments.

“The Programme for Government should include a genuine aim to secure a better deal for Ireland on this portion of our debt.

“To increase debt sustainability, European authorities should consider further changes to the status of the government bonds which were issued to replace the promissory notes.

“A better deal on Ireland’s debt would also represent a more appropriate acknowledgement of Ireland’s role in preserving the European project.”

The advocacy organisation said a significant portion of the national debt originated from bailouts of the Irish financial sector.

“There has yet to be sufficient recognition of this by our European partners. This part of Ireland’s debt represents a direct subsidy from the Irish public to international bondholders and the European banking system, the total cost of which was 64 billion euros.”

It said the next Programme for Government should be focused on delivering: a vibrant economy, decent services and infrastructure, just taxation, good governance and sustainability.

The organisation claimed the ratio of tax increases to spending cuts during the crisis was wrong and that the restoration of public services and welfare payments should be prioritised with funds that become available over the term of the next government.

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Key areas should be social housing, primary care and mental health facilities, infrastructure for rural broadband, childcare infrastructure and early education facilities.

The report said: “Many cuts imposed in recent years have been socially destructive and counter-productive.”

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