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Noonan brushes off economist’s forecast

Mr Noonan described Willem Buiter's comments as 'speculation'. (File pic)

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has dismissed as ‘ludicrous’ claims that Ireland will need a second bailout. Amid speculation from a senior executive at Citigroup, Michael Noonan suggested the new year was bringing a traditional spate of economic analysis.

Mr Noonan insisted Ireland has enough money to fully fund the country for almost two years.

“It’s ludicrous to be talking about a second bailout when we’re in and meeting all the targets of the first programme,” he said.

“We’re a year into a rescue programme which was negotiated by the previous Government and we are fully funded into the back end of 2013.

“It’s really speculation by economists who at the start of the new year speculate on these matters.”

Mr Noonan was forced to dismiss the suggestion on the back of an interview given earlier this week by Citigroup chief economist Willem Buiter who said Ireland should consider a second bailout.

During a visit to Dublin on Monday, Mr Buiter said it is clear Ireland needs further financial assistance outside market conditions.

The Citigroup executive claimed the Irish Government should open negotiations and plan for a rescue re-run rather than face a last minute application.

Ireland has a total bailout programme worth €85 billion after being frozen out of international money markets in late 2010.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who is meeting Prime Minister David Cameron in Downing Street tomorrow for talks to be dominated by the economy and euro crisis, dismissed the speculation.

“I don’t see there is any need for a second bailout here. We are meeting our commitments and the challenges,” the Taoiseach said.

Both Mr Noonan and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, will meet officials from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission as the three continue their latest review of Ireland’s financial affairs over the next nine days.

The ten day mission began yesterday with meetings with Department of Finance general secretary Kevin Cardiff, officials from the bad-bank asset management agency Nama and the National Treasury Management Agency.

Mr Kenny said: “They are going to go through in minute detail a whole range of activities. Clearly that’s in Ireland’s interests that we measure up again.

“Ireland is in a programme for the next two years, that’s a challenging programme, but we are competing very well on that. We have made it clear that that is our programme.

“We are having technical discussions with European colleagues on a number of matters there.”

Yesterday, Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, a spokesman for EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, said it was “not particularly helpful” for commentators to speculate about the need for a second bailout.

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