DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland (OTC BB: IRLD - news) should stick to its fiscal targets, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Monday, signalling that Dublin should not use gains made from a key bank debt deal to soften future budget plans.
Ireland struck a deal earlier this month that will ease its deficit path from next year, and the government then promised voters a 20 percent reduction in the 5.1 billion euros of austerity measures planned by 2015.
After Finance Minister Michael Noonan took a step back and said last week that it was too soon to say for sure what the leeway would mean for next year's budget, Rehn was similarly cautious during a brief trip to Dublin.
"I have heard that this has been in some discussions, referred to as windfall gains from the deal on the promissory notes. I'm a bit surprised by that," Rehn told national broadcaster RTE on Monday.
"It's very important to stick to fiscal targets and ensure the debt burden can be reduced in due course. It is essential that euro area member states respect the commitments that have been taken."
Rehn, who said there was no time for complacency in dealing with the euro zone's debt crisis, added that he was confident Ireland would be able to exit its EU/IMF bailout schedule and return to regular market funding on schedule later this year.
(Reporting by Stephen Mangan and Padraic Halpin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)