July 9, 2018 / 10:43 AM / 8 months ago

Ireland should sell bank shares sooner, not later - debt agency

DUBLIN, July 9 (Reuters) - Ireland’s government should reduce its exposure to stock markets sooner rather than later by selling more bank shares and use the proceeds to cut the state’s debts, the head of the country’s debt agency said on Monday.

“What I’m pointing out is that this late in the investment cycle there is a higher degree of risk that there will be a material fall in the value of those shares than there has been in previous years,” Conor O’Kelly told a news conference.

“There are a lot of shares and they will be sold off over a long period of time and you have to average your way out of that to some degree but you’ve got to get started at some point and I think the sooner the better. Relying on the investment markets to always be there for you can be difficult.” (Reporting by Padraic Halpin. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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