Updated: 27/04/12 : 11:05:23
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'Troika may let us spend on growth' - Taoiseach

Ireland's EU/IMF lenders may allow the Government to spend up to 50pc of the proceeds from sales of state assets, more than previously suggested, on stimulating the economy rather than using it to pay down debt, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said.

Ireland's "troika" of lenders, the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, currently insist that the Government should spend at least two-thirds of cash earned through asset sales on paying off debt.

Spending minister Brendan Howlin yesterday said the lenders had indicated that more than one-third of the proceeds could be used to stimulate the economy. The government is targeting 3 billion euros of sales.

"The change now is that that will be significantly higher. It could be - I stress could be - as high as 50 percent," Kenny said on Thursday, according to comments posted on the government's web site.

The concession "reflects the changed attitude that there is in Europe," Kenny said.

"Europe now accepts that there should be an item on every agenda dealing with growth and innovation and enterprise and job opportunities," he said.

The head of another of the euro zone's struggling economies, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, on Thursday backed a call to aim the EU's stalling economy towards growth. That reflects growing conviction among some officials that concentrating on budget savings alone to deal with its debt crisis could leave the continent in a prolonged slump. (C ) Reuters