The Minister of Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan TD, and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin TD, welcomed the publication today by the IMF of the report of the 2015 Article IV on Ireland.
The Article IV consultation is separate to the post-Programme monitoring function which has been in place since Ireland exited the Troika Programme of Assistance in December 2013. The Article IV consultation is more strategic in its focus and considers medium to longer-term policy issues. The return of the Article IV consultation to the standard 12-month cycle is a further sign of the normalisation of Ireland’s relations with the Fund. The Consultation took place in Dublin during the week of 20-27 January 2015, and IMF Staff prepared a report based on this Consultation for discussion and approval by the IMF Executive Board.
The Staff Report sets out the views of IMF Staff on a broad range of issues including the current position of the economy and its medium-to-long term prospects, medium-term fiscal policy, as well as financial and banking policy. During the Board discussion, Directors commended early IMF repayment, economic and fiscal performance, and noted progress on non-performing loans and mortgage macro-prudential measures. The Executive Board acknowledged the consolidation efforts and the sustained progress achieved by Ireland over the past eight years, and noted the economy’s strong performance during 2014. The Board encouraged the Government to maintain a phased and steady adjustment path towards our fiscal goals, while developing and implementing measures to sustain the recovery.
Commenting on the publication of the Article IV consultation Minister Noonan and Minister Howlin stated:
“We welcome today’s publication by the IMF of their Statement on Ireland’s Article IV for 2015. The consultation is an important assessment of the economies of IMF members and we have taken note of their views of our short and medium term prospects. These will be carefully considered in the context of our overall policy development in the medium term”.
Commenting on the progress achieved to-date, Minister Noonan stated:
“I welcome the IMF Board’s recognition of the recovery which is taking hold, based on solid growth and job creation, the decline in unemployment and strengthened fiscal balances. This reflects the sustained commitment of the Government in repairing the damage caused by the crisis. The Government is fully committed to sound budgetary policy in the years ahead and to a steady adjustment path in reducing debt and maintaining stability”.
Minister Howlin added:
“I welcome the assessment by IMF Staff of Ireland’s strong growth rates. I also acknowledge the recommendation to use the fiscal space created to increase public capital investment. Such investment can help to underpin our economic recovery and support job creation and it will be considered among the many options to build on the progress already achieved and to provide the infrastructure to support sustainable economic growth for the future”
Both Ministers concluded that:
“With the completion of the Article IV process, and following on the constructive engagements with IMF Staff and the Executive Board over recent weeks, we look forward to considering further the IMF’s recommendations in the context of our overall policy development in the medium term”
The IMF Article IV consultation involved a small team of IMF staff visiting Ireland for a one-week period of consultation during which they met Minister Noonan and Minister Howlin, Governor Honohan, and a broad range of public and private sector bodies.
Ireland, like most other IMF Member Countries, is examined under the Article IV consultation. It is expected that the final Staff Report will be published by the IMF following consideration by the Executive Directors in the coming weeks.
24 March, 2015