Noonan Tells EU Ministers [Euro]10bn Won't Be Enough to Rescue Banks

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Byline: Senan Molony and David Haworth

MICHAEL Noonan has warned Irish banks will need more than the [euro]10billion for recapitalisation envisaged in the EU-IMF bailout plan.

The Finance Minister, who was at a meeting of 17 eurozone ministers last night, made his comments ahead of the publication of stress test results on the banks at the end of the month.

He said: 'I've already said it would be more than [euro]10billion needed.' Recent talks with Bank of Ireland officials had left him convinced more money would be necessary.

However, he refused to say how much more money would be required to end the crisis.

He said that the Taoiseach would not be in a position to bring the results with him when he visits Brussels this Thursday for a twoday EU summit.

Mr Noonan told the meeting the tests would need to continue until after the summit before a clear picture of the banks' condition emerged.

On the issue of whether Ireland might be prepared to compromise on the country's 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate, Mr Noonan said: 'Ireland will not budge on that.

'In any case, there's a big difference between the effective rate and the nominal rate of tax.' Mr Noonan suggested Ireland was willing to

submit to a fiscal council with supervision of Government spending, and said it was already provided for in the Programme For Government.

The council would warn about irresponsible policies or dangerous funding or spending practices. And Mr Noonan has said Ireland would be prepared to accept a legislative 'debt brake' that would prevent future Irish governments from running dangerous deficits.

'It would prevent successive governments getting into the kind of difficulties we've seen over the past two or three years,' he said.

But Jean-Claude Trichet, head of the European Central Bank, warned bluntly that Ireland had to regain its own creditworthiness.

He heavily hinted that further aggressive public spending cuts were required, as well as strict adherence to the terms of the EU/IMF bailout of last year.

Mr Trichet had been questioned by Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell, who warned that Ireland already had a deficit in public finances and that to attempt to correct the debts of the banks at the same time through would prove 'practically impossible'.

He suggested it was 'asking too much of one member state'.

But Mr Trichet replied: 'No, I would not say that. Certainly not. The decisions which have been taken by the Government of Ireland over the last three years are there. …