Friday, October 14, 2011
Dealbook: A Call for a Write-Down on Irish Debt
Oct. 14 (New York Times) -- DUBLIN -- A major write-down on Greek debt appears to be inevitable. But what about Ireland?
Bailed-out Irish banks continue to pay interest to their bondholders on 75 billion euros in debt -- about half the country's gross domestic product -- and despite Ireland's improved economic performance over the past year, many here believe that these institutions should suffer the same haircut that the banks holding Greek debt are expected to absorb.
"We need to write this stuff off," said Peter Mathews, a voluble banking and real estate consultant who was recently elected to the Irish Parliament on a robust bank-bashing platform.
Mr. Mathews estimates that if you include household and nonfinancial corporate debt, Ireland's total debt burden is a shocking 490 percent of its G.D.P. -- which, he claims, makes Ireland the most indebted country in the world.