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Ireland appoints IAG's Willie Walsh to chair debt agency

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's finance ministry will appoint Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG) (LSE:IAG), which owns British Airways and Iberia, as chairman of the board of its debt management agency, it said on Monday.

IAG said the appointment would not affect Walsh's role at the airline operator.

Walsh will serve as chairman of the National Treasury Management Agency's (NTMA) advisory committee and Finance Minister Michael Noonan also plans to appoint him as chairman of the board of directors. The latter is a new role at the NTMA.

As chairman of the board, Walsh will set out the agency's targets for treasury and debt management and its investment strategy. The ministry statement did not specify if the appointment would affect the role of NTMA Chief Executive John Corrigan and officials were not immediately available to comment.

Noonan, in a statement, called it a "very important role, especially in the context of our exit from the EU/IMF programme of assistance and our return to the financial markets".

Ireland has decided not to issue any more bonds this year as it has enough cash on hand but will need to show it can fund itself regularly on international markets after it completes an 85 billion euro bailout in December.

Noonan said Walsh was an ideal candidate given his position as a global business leader and his experience of financial markets.

(Reporting by Sam Cage; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Susan Fenton)