Ireland may expand the list of state assets it will put up for sale under its EU-IMF bailout as it seeks to use some of the proceeds for job creation projects, the prime minister said on Tuesday.
Ireland's troika of lenders, the European Central Bank, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, have the final say in how any privatisation proceeds are used and Enda Kenny said his government had agreed to draw up a wider list of potential sales targets following talks with lenders last week.
Following the discussions last week there is interest in having an extended list of potential assets that might be sold, Kenny told parliament.
Despite the overall situation in which the country finds itself there is a great deal of interest being expressed in the potential of a number of assets.
Kenny's government has a target of raising 2 billion euros in asset sales. However, it has said it would consider raising its target if it could use some of the proceeds to stimulate its economy rather than channeling it all into debt reduction.
Ireland's efforts to try and use some of the proceeds from the state asset sales to boost employment are part of a wider campaign to improve the terms of the country's EU-IMF rescue programme.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan was meeting with ECB President Mario Draghi on Tuesday to try and persuade him of the merits of cutting the cost of bailing out Ireland's banks, at the heart of the country's financial crisis.
In a staff report last year, the IMF said Dublin should consider an asset disposal programme of up to 5 billion euros. The troika have not, however, imposed a deadline on selling off the assets given volatile global market conditions.
Ireland has agreed to sell a minority stake in energy company, the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), which analysts said could generate 2 billion euros.
Dublin is also considering selling a 25 percent stake in former state carrier Aer Lingus
A government-commissioned report recommended last year that the state sell parts of its other main energy company Bord Gais and offload its stakes in smaller assets like peat utility Bord na Mona, forestry company Coillte and Irish horse racing's National Stud.
(Reporting by Carmel Crimmins; Editing by Susan Fenton)