Treasury mum on reported Geithner role

Washington, D.C. --- Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan left Washington last week with the personal telephone number of U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and sympathetic words in his ear for a backing by the U.S. for a rate reduction on the interest Ireland is paying on its ECB/IMF bailout loan.

What remains less audible and less visible, however, is whether Secretary Geithner has always been such a supporter for Dublin's pursuit of such a reduction.

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Back in May, reports indicated that Geithner had "torpedoed" an appeal by the Irish government for the six percent interest rate to be slashed.

The Irish Echo this week asked for an on-the-record response from the U.S. Treasury Department on whether Secretary Geithner did or did not torpedo such a request last month.

"The U.S. is not a decision maker on European issues such as this one an beyond that, we will decline to comment," responded Treasury spokeswoman, Natalie Wyeth.

While Irish media outlets have made much of the "high level access" to U.S. officials enjoyed by Irish minister, Noonan included, what exactly this access has extracted from Washington in terms of tangible and favorable action remains obscure. (See Noonan interview, Page 8).