Spokesperson on Public Expenditure Michael McGrath TD has called on the Taoiseach to make a statement clarifying Government policy as a matter of urgency following comments by Minister Leo Varadkar in yesterday’s Sunday Times newspaper that a second bailout deal is likely for Ireland.
‘Minister Varadkar’s view that Ireland is unlikely to be in a position to return to the international bond markets next year and will therefore need a second bailout deal represents a major shift in stated Government policy if it is in fact shared by his Cabinet colleagues.
‘The current EU/IMF programme is based on Ireland returning to the international bond markets in the second half of 2012 or early 2013 at the latest. It is essential that the Government is very clear on this objective. For a Cabinet Minister to express his belief that Ireland will need a second bailout deal will only serve to undermine confidence in Ireland and result in Ireland’s situation being likened to Greece.
‘The controversy surrounding Minister Varadkar’s comments has so far been played down in Government circles but this is not the first time that a Minister from this Fine Gael / Labour coalition has been quoted in Irish and international media as saying something the Government has then had to completely disown.
‘When Minister Howlin was quoted as saying that Ireland would seek to reschedule its debts, the Taoiseach knew how that would be viewed internationally and flatly overruled him in the Dáil last week.
‘The last thing Ireland needs right now is mixed messages from Government on an issue as important as this.
Deputy McGrath concluded: ‘The Taoiseach should be very clear on this issue and make a statement on the matter today. Is it still the policy of the Government to return to the international bond markets in 2012 or is the Government already preparing the ground for a second bailout deal with the EU and IMF?’.