* Spanish PM, Irish opposition say Spain got better deal
* Irish govt says some of its terms better than Spain's
* Says will insist on parity of interest rates, loan term
By Conor Humphries
DUBLIN, June 11 Ireland's government on Monday
scrambled to respond to claims Spain had secured a better
bailout from Europe, saying its own deal was in some ways more
attractive and insisting its lenders would match any concessions
offered to Madrid.
Euro zone leaders' decision to grant Spain up to 100 billion
euros ($125 billion) in funding for its banks without entering a
full-scale rescue, has raised hackles from the Irish opposition,
who say the government has been outmanoeuvred.
While Spain will join Greece, Ireland and Portugal in
receiving a European financial package, the aid will be focused
only on its banking sector and it does not appear to have
committed to additional austerity measures or structural reform.
"They got the exact same deal that we got," Deputy Finance
Minister Brian Hayes said with irritation during an interview
with RTE national radio on Monday when asked if Spain had got a
"That the money Spain is getting is cheaper than the money
we are getting - that is fundamentally a lie," he said,
rebuffing claims by the opposition that Spain would get funding
at less than the average 3.7 percent interest rate on Ireland's
85 billion euro bailout signed in 2010.
The government had built up expectations in recent weeks
that a bailout of Spain would help Ireland secure a better deal
on refinancing some of the tens of billions of euros of debt the
government took on to recapitalise its banks.
Some of that debt was raised through a 2010 EU/IMF bailout
programme, which the government is not trying to change, but
most through government-issued promissory notes, which Ireland
wants Europe to help refinance.
Irish ministers wanted Europe's bailout funds to lend money
directly to Spain's banks to avoid putting the burden of private
sector losses onto the ordinary tax payers and saying it would
set a precedent that Ireland could apply retroactively.
But the euro zone's 17 finance ministers, the Eurogroup, on
Saturday said the Spanish government would retain full
responsibility for repaying the funds, dashing Irish hopes for a
swift improvement in its terms.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's claims on Sunday that
he scored a victory by securing aid without submitting to a full
state rescue programme further embarrassed the Irish government.
"Many Irish people looking at the deal today will be asking
themselves why is there one set of conditions for us and another
for Spain," said Pearse Doherty, the finance spokesman of the
opposition Sinn Fein party.
"Clearly the Spanish government has secured a better deal."
But Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on Monday that Ireland
already has some advantages over Spain including having until
2015 to cut its budget deficit to 3 percent, a year after Spain.
While Spain may be forced to apply preferred creditor status
on its loans from Europe, making their new bond issues less
attractive to investors, Ireland's bailout does not require
this, deputy finance minister Hayes said.
And if Spain is offered interest rates and repayment periods
that are more beneficial than those offered to Ireland, Dublin
would seek and expect "parity and equivalent treatment," Europe
Minister Lucinda Creighton said.
Irish economists said a direct comparison of the terms would
only be possible once the final details of the Spanish loans are
agreed later in the month.
"In terms of the impact on Ireland, it does not alter our
expectations," said Brian Devine, chief economist at NCB
stockbrokers in Dublin.