Anglo promissory note deal 'crucial' - Dallara

Charles Dallara said it was the most important "near term" issue in helping Ireland to return to international markets

The head of the organisation representing global banks and financial institutions has said that it is "crucial" in the next 60 days for Ireland to secure a deal on Anglo Irish Bank promissory notes.

Charles Dallara, Managing Director of the Institute of International Finance (IIF), said it was the most important "near term" issue in helping Ireland to return to international markets.

He said he had spoken to both the ECB and the Government on the issue in recent days and that, while it was a difficult one for the ECB, there was "goodwill" on both sides.

Mr Dallara said he had expressed his views on behalf of the global private banking sector with eurozone officials and with Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on "the importance of resolving this [promissory notes] issue".

He told RTÉ News at the World Economic Forum in Davos: "It's crucial.

"I think a constructive adjustment of the structure of the promissory notes is probably the most important near term issue to help facilitate a smooth path towards restoration of access to the capital markets by the sovereign and putting the Irish economy on a firm path.

"But I think this promissory note issue in the next 60 days is crucial."

Mr Dallara, whose organisation has been pivotal in the recent debt restructuring for Greece, said he understood that the issues for the ECB were legal in nature, and that it was his sense the ECB was concerned about setting a precedent that might be followed by other countries if they offered significant concessions to Ireland on the promissory notes.

He said Ireland still had some fiscal adjustments ahead of it to make, but he added that Ireland - and Portugal - were "success stories" waiting to happen.

"I'm quite optimistic about Ireland's prospects of returning to the market. They've already demonstrated that they can put their toe in the water and I think they'll actually be able to step in.

"I do fully agree with the Irish perspective that they're going to need some help on this debt.

"It doesn't have to be a black or white solution, but I think some adjustment on the maturities of some of the current structures are going to be necessary, and I understand discussions are going to be moving in that direction.

"I hope we can use the Irish presidency [of the EU] to forward some progress, because I think that Ireland and Portugal are, to be honest, two countries that have made so much progress, and if the eurozone can take an enlightened perspective on both of these countries then I think you have two success stories right at your front door.

"Ireland still has some adjustment ahead of it, but the banks are working through their problems. They obviously left a huge burden on the back of the Irish citizens and the Irish sovereign.

"But I think Europe is looking hard at how they can resolve this problem, maybe not in a completely clean fashion, but in a fashion that at least moves the process forward," he said.