Ireland expects to pass the new quarterly review of its EU/IMF bailout, its finance minister said on Tuesday, at the start of a 10-day visit by officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
I think we've met all our commitments for the quarter. So I suppose the more interesting part will be looking forward, Michael Noonan told state broadcaster RTE.
Ireland has been praised in recent reviews of its 67.5 billion euro bailout, which runs from 2010 to 2013, for its success in cutting its budget deficit, shrinking its banks and returning to modest economic growth.
But the economic slowdown in Europe has raised doubts about its aim of returning to full market funding next year.
During their 10-day mission, officials from the troika of lenders are expected to discuss with the government the future of bancassurer Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) and Irish efforts to soften the terms of its bank bailout.
The government want to replace 30 billion euros of high-interest IOUs given mainly to the former Anglo Irish Bank with another instrument that would lengthen their maturity and cut their interest rate.
The opposition reacted angrily to the troika's decision not to hold a news conference or meet opposition leaders, saying the government was to blame for a stance that would not lift public confidence in the bailout process.
The troika said it was not appropriate to hold such a meeting, and it would not have a news conference, and noted that it took a similar stance recently in Greece and Portugal.
In view of the campaign that will be under way for the end of May referendum...the troika consider it appropriate to suspend meetings with Ireland's political parties for the review mission in the second half of April, a European Commission spokesman said.
The troika sixth review mission to Ireland will take place from the 16th to the 27th of April. The troika does not intend to hold a press conference at the end of this review mission. The troika did not hold a press conference at the end of the recent review missions to Greece or Portugal either, he added.
Ireland's largest opposition party, Fianna Fail, described this as a retrograde step by the government.
Hiding Troika officials and keeping all business behind closed doors will do nothing to encourage public confidence in this process, a Fianna Fail spokesman said in a statement.
The last news conference given by the troika attracted protesters outside the building and angry questions from local journalists.
(Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by Tim Pearce)