Friday 21 October 2016

Noonan prepares for possible Greek exit


The Government is forming contingency plans in the event of a Greek default or possible exit from the Eurozone, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said.

Mr Noonan said he had discussed a possible Greek default with the Central Bank and the National Treasury Management Agency.

He made his comments as he arrived in Luxembourg to meet fellow European finance ministers for crunch talks on how to avoid a Greek default and possible Eurozone exit.

A group of Irish officials are examining "all scenarios" as talks between Greece and its creditors continue.

The Irish team, headed by deputy head of the Finance Department Ann Nolan, has decided that the direct impact of a Greek exit would have only a small impact on Ireland.

A spokesperson for the department said officials and representatives from other state agencies "make contingency plans for a range of issues".

The department did not comment specifically on any contingency plans relating to Greece.

The increasingly bitter public stand-off between Greece and its creditors continued this week, with the European Commission disputing claims by Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras that lenders were imposing "humiliating" terms on Athens.

Hopes of a breakthrough at a Eurogroup meeting of European finance ministers, once seen as the last opportunity for an agreement, now look increasingly remote.


Athens must find a way out of the impasse by the end of this month when it faces a €1.6bn repayment due to the International Monetary Fund, potentially leaving it bankrupt and on the verge of exiting the Eurozone.

German and British leaders are making contingency plans for the expiration of Greece's bailout programme at the end of the month, in a sign that there may be room for some compromise.

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