13/07/2011 16:34 BST | Updated 12/09/2011 06:12 BST

Irish Bonds 'Junk' Status Slammed By Barroso

PRESS ASSOCIATION -- The president of the European Commission has branded the downgrading of Ireland's credit worthiness as "incomprehensible".

Jose Manuel Barroso praised Ireland's efforts to get back on its economic feet and dismissed the "junk" status declared on the country by Moody's credit rating agency as "questionable".

Last week Mr Barroso attacked the same agency - one of the "big three" agencies whose assessments can affect markets instantly.

After Moody's declared Portugal's credit status to be "junk", the president said the decision was unhelpful and unnecessary, and would only provoke more market speculation against the euro, adding: "I think our institutions know Portugal a little bit better: our analysis is more refined and complete."

He has also expressed similar frustration after the announcement on Ireland and questioned the timing of the statement - a day before publication of a report by a joint Commission mission to Ireland with the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Barroso's spokeswoman said: "The decision to downgrade Ireland's credit rating is, in the president's view and the commission's view, incomprehensible. Its timing, as the second quarterly review mission is preparing to announce its findings, is, to say the least, questionable.

"The Irish government has shown determination and decisiveness in the implementation of the economic adjustment programme: Ireland's banks are being re-capitalised and its financial system more broadly is being repaired, which is of course an essential step to get the real economy back on its feet."

Enda Kenny said he would only attend an emergency meeting of the European Council on Friday if there was a possibility the growing financial crisis could be resolved.

"It's now time, as a consequence of the concerns and anxiety out there internationally being reflected in markets' lack of confidence in particular areas, that these matters be responded to comprehensively and decisively by Europe," the Taoiseach said.

Mr Kenny later added: "Their (Moody's) problem is not with Ireland, their problem is with Europe and it's got to be responded to in a European sense."