asked the Minister for Finance if any approach was recently made to the International Monetary Fund or any other international organisation for a capital loan for this country; if so, what is the present position in regard to such application.
Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Loan Applications.
No approach was made recently to the International Monetary Fund for a loan.
Discussions have taken place over a period of years with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development——the World Bank——with a view to investment by the bank in this country. As I informed the House yesterday, the bank has agreed to make a loan of $14½ million to the ESB. No approach has been made to any other international organisation for loan assistance.
Apart from the fact that I elicited the information yesterday instead of today when——
If the Deputy thinks he controls the sittings of the Board of the World Bank he is giving himself credit——
No, the Minister had the information and would not give it.
The decision was only taken by the board yesterday. The Deputy can take my word on that.
Very well. Is it likely that the Government will make further requests for such investment or loans?
The fact that we have succeeded in persuading the Board of the World Bank to invest here is a very good development and I would hope that more of our soundly-based national projects would recommend themselves to the bank for loan assistance.
Have they invested in the Government or in the ESB?
This depends on responsible Government.
Deputy Tully should not interrupt in this fashion.
Please understand that the World Bank does not invest directly in Government loans; it invests in specific physical projects such as telecommunications, transport and electricity. They regarded this particular scheme as a suitable project. I would hope that we would be able to persuade the World Bank to invest in many more such projects.
Is it not grand that this is now a suitable project but it was a "white elephant" according to the Minister's Party when it was established?
The Deputy is an adornment to the House.
So is the Minister.