Bailed-out Bank of Ireland returns to bond market

Bailed-out Bank of Ireland raised one billion euros ($1.27 billion) on Tuesday in its biggest foray into the bond market in over three years.

In September 2008, with the risk of a collapse in its banking sector, Dublin gave Irish banks a blanket guarantee covering all of the banks' debts.

This forced Dublin and the banks to turn to the European Central Bank for emergency funding, and ultimately pushed Ireland towards an 85 billion euro EU-IMF bailout in November 2010.

The covered bond deal on Tuesday, secured on the bank's assets, is the first issued by an Irish bank without a state guarantee for three years.

Irish banks were left badly exposed to the bursting of a construction bubble and a collapse in financial markets.

Property prices have plunged by more than 50 percent since the height of the "Celtic Tiger", the title given to Ireland's unprecedented double-digit growth and full employment for much of the last decade.

A total of 64.1 billion euros has been pumped into Irish banks to prevent them from collapsing.

Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Tuesday's move was an important milestone on the path to Irish banks regaining full independence.

"The strong investor appetite, as demonstrated by the fact that this issuance was close to 2.5 times oversubscribed, is an expression of confidence in the Irish economy," Noonan said.

"This deal is an important part of the normalisation of the banking sector. In a normally functioning and healthy banking sector there will be a certain level of debt raised by the banks."

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