Ireland plans to apply for OMT, but not yet - finance minister

LONDON Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:24pm GMT

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

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LONDON (Reuters) - Ireland plans to apply for the European Central Bank's bond purchase plan, dubbed Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT), but is not ready to do so yet, its finance minister Michael Noonan said on Thursday.

"The OMT arrangement is an option, in due course, which we will probably apply for, but we have no plans to do so yet," Noonan told a Bloomberg event in London.

The ECB has said countries have to be within a support programme but have a normal level of access to bond markets to qualify for the OMT. It has said it would buy debt of up to three-year maturities on the secondary market under the plan.

Noonan also said that Ireland does not intend to bring in a tax on financial transactions and is talking to its Troika lenders about the timing of new stress tests for Irish banks.

(Reporting by Marc Jones and Toni Vorobyova)

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