Finally, the long heralded debt deal has arrived, and with no small fanfare. As the Dáil debate ended, Enda Kenny declared “[t]he Anglo promissory-note payments are gone“, which made for a catchy, if misleading, prepackaged headline. The deal, as you’ll have read, postpones payment of IBRC debt for up to 30 years. Which means that while Anglo’s debts aren’t quite gone (we are still being forced to pay them), they have been pushed far enough in to the future so as to make them look much more…manageable.
This is obviously great news, which is why the Irish Times asked economist Pat McArdle to explain to us lay people why. McArdle (in terms befitting a property supplement-cum-newspaper) made the point: “every borrower knows, a longer mortgage is easier to service as inflation and time erodes the real burden of the repayment“, which offers us “some light at the end of a very dark tunnel“. For the ungrateful among you still disappointed that you’re paying off bondholder’s mortgages, the Irish Times was quick to declare that the deal was the best we could hope for “given that debt write-offs were never on the cards.”
Needless to say the Government were not the only ones proud of their deal. In the following days the Irish Times’ Stephen Collins marveled at the “scale of the Government’s achievement“. Using the same phrase to lead not one, but two articles. He went on to reassure them the deal “should steady nerves…after a wobbly few weeks”. While it was a team effort, with the “Coalition’s credibility as well as the country’s vital national interest on the line”, there was still a opportunity to single out certain individuals who had risen above the rest.