Ireland’s General Government debt fell by €11 billion to €225 billion in 2022 and has the potential to fall below €200 billion by 2030, according to the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).
The NTMA has published its 2023 mid-year business update which shows that the fall in Government debt in 2022 was the first since 2019 and the largest since 2014.
The NTMA said its funding and debt management strategy had helped mitigate the effect of higher interest rates, with the 2022 interest bill unchanged compared to 2021 at €3.3 billion arising from fixing borrowing costs at historically low rates for long terms.
“We have entered the higher interest rate cycle in a strong position – Ireland needs to borrow less over the coming years as a result of our pre-funding strategy, strong cash balances and a favourable exchequer position,” said Frank O’Connor, the NTMA’s chief executive.
“Investor and ratings agency sentiment towards Ireland remains positive, as evidenced by the strong demand for our debt and the pattern of ratings upgrades which have continued into 2023,” Mr O’Connor said.
The NTMA said that the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) committed €823m across 20 investments last year, bringing the total committed in Ireland to €6.5 billion across 188 investments.
Also in 2022, the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) delivered education and social housing infrastructure.
New higher education facilities were delivered in the first bundle of the Higher Education PPP Programme in Technological Universities in Athlone, Cork, Tralee, Blanchardstown and Tallaght and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dún Laoghaire.
Four bundles of homes are being procured under the Social Housing PPP Programme, which will bring total delivery under the programme to 3,600 homes.
The State Claims Agency (SCA) over the course of 2022 resolved close to 3,100 general and clinical claims.
It also began preparations for assuming responsibility for the management of the new statutory Garda Compensation Scheme.
“The NTMA’s 2022 annual report highlights the value provided to the State by the NTMA, with the agency continuing to both communicate and engage with market counterparties on behalf of Ireland to ensure that our borrowing requirements are met,” Minister for Finance Michael McGrath stated.