Irish Fin Min: No Access to Any New Bailout if EU Treaty Rejected
-Ireland will have no access to any new international bailout if its voters reject the European Union fiscal treaty in a public referendum May 31, the country’s finance minister said Sunday.
Michael Noonan was responding to a Sunday newspaper report that suggested Ireland could tap new loans from the International Monetary Fund, even if it were blocked from accessing euro zone emergency funding.
The Irish coalition government is campaigning for voters to support the treaty, arguing that rejection will cut Ireland off from the European Stability Mechanism—the new permanent bailout program—if it were to need further aid.
Ireland has been in a program with the EU and IMF since late 2010. It wants to get back to full market funding and therefore not require a second bailout when the existing program expires next year.
The Sunday Times newspaper had cited an IMF spokesman as saying that any country “in good standing” can apply to the IMF for loans.
However, in a statement, Noonan said the IMF’s comments were being “misinterpreted” and that the IMF does not lend on a “unilateral” basis to troubled euro zone countries, like Ireland.
“If Ireland votes no in the referendum, Ireland will not have access to ESM funds. The ESM will be the only source of bailout funds when the Irish program ends,” Noonan said.