Ireland says working on new post-bailout economic plan

DUBLIN Thu May 23, 2013 1:16am IST

Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan presents the budget to waiting media at the Government Buildings in Dublin December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan presents the budget to waiting media at the Government Buildings in Dublin December 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's finance minister said on Wednesday he planned to issue a long-term economic plan aimed at keeping the country on track after the strictures imposed by a bailout are removed next year.

Rescued by Europe and the IMF in late 2010, Ireland has consistently hit the targets set under its bailout and is set to wean itself off emergency help on schedule at the end of this year after returning to bond markets.

Michael Noonan said he and spending minister Brendan Howlin were working on the new plan, which will run from 2014 to 2020, and that it would include fiscal targets and initiatives the government will pursue help the economy grow.

"We'll exit the program at the back end of this year. When we leave the program we won't have that kind of discipline within our system anymore," Noonan told a parliamentary committee, referring to the quarterly reviews Ireland is subject to under the 85 billion euro ($109.4 billion) rescue package.

"I want to make sure that because of looser arrangements, we don't lose impetus so we are going to bring forward an economic plan which will take us from 2014 to 2020, and be quite specific in the early years where different tasks will have to be done, maybe against a looser deadline that in the bailout."

Separately, Noonan said the country's revenue service had received returns from 60 percent of households liable for a new property tax and were on target to reach the expected compliance level by a filing deadline later this month.

The tax was the most contentious element in the country's sixth successive austerity budget, unveiled last December, and came after the introduction of a flat household charge last year provoked large protests and a non-payment campaign.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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