NTMA publishes 2024 mid-year business update

Tuesday 2nd July 2024

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has today published its 2024 mid-year business update alongside its 2023 Annual Report.

Comments by Frank O’Connor, NTMA Chief Executive:

“Ireland’s economy continues to demonstrate great resilience despite the economic challenges of recent years and the Exchequer fiscal position remains strong.

We are seeing continued stability in our debt servicing costs, with our Funding and Debt Management strategy successfully mitigating the risk posed by the higher interest rate environment. We expect our long-established strategy of pre-funding maturities, borrowing for long terms at low fixed rates, will keep these costs at or close to their current level for the next number of years.

We are also seeing a continuation of the pattern of favourable investor sentiment towards Irish Government debt, with our ongoing investor relations programme being reinforced by a series of ratings upgrades, and demand for our debt remaining strong.

Investors have reacted favourably to the establishment of the two new savings funds that have been entrusted to us by the Government – the Future Ireland Fund and the Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund – and we are accelerating work to get these funds up and running.

The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) earned an investment return of 4.3% in 2023 and has generated €2.3bn accumulated returns since inception.

ISIF has further strengthened its programme of investments across its priority themes. It is ahead of schedule in its 5-year €1bn Climate Action programme, with over 77% of the total already committed after a little over three years.

It has also committed €1.3bn to residential investments and more than €130m to regional development under ISIF’s €500m five cities investment programme.

2023 also saw the National Development Finance Agency continue to execute its mandate successfully which includes a range of major education infrastructure projects that will benefit educational institutions throughout Ireland and help them to further advance Ireland’s skills base.

NewERA, meanwhile, provided financial and commercial advice to Government Ministers and Departments in relation to an increasing range of commercial State bodies across over 150 assignments with a value of close to €9bn, with a particular focus on climate and Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

The State Claims Agency’s wide range of risk advisory and claims management mandates resulted in it managing over 11,000 active claims at end-2023, resolving clinical claims, where possible, using non-adversarial alternative dispute resolution and ensuring that the learning gleaned from adverse incidents and claims surveillance is disseminated to mitigate the risk of recurrence of such incidents and claims.”

Comments by the Minister for Finance, Jack Chambers TD:

“The NTMA’s 2023 Annual Report highlights the contribution that the NTMA continues to make on behalf of the State across all of its Business Units.

The Agency’s role in engaging with the sovereign debt market is vital to the State and I fully support the NTMA’s continued presence in the market and note the pattern of favourable investor sentiment towards Irish Government debt, being reinforced by a series of ratings upgrades, and demand for our debt remaining strong.

It is also very important to recognise the contribution made by the other Business Units such as the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) through effective deployment of its capital across its priority investment themes while maintaining its double bottom line mandate of delivering a strong economic impact and a commercial return.

Equally important is the work being done by the State Claims Agency (SCA) in both mitigating risk and effectively managing the State’s response to claims; by NewERA on behalf of Ministers in enhancing both the financial performance and the governance of State companies and entities; and by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) in procuring and executing major infrastructure projects.

I wish the NTMA continued success in 2024 and beyond across all of its mandates.”

2024 mid-year business update and 2023 annual report – key points

Funding and Debt Management

The NTMA’s pre-funding strategy, coupled with the improved fiscal position has resulted in reduced issuance at higher yields. Benchmark bond issuance in 2023 was €7.4bn. This is well below the annual average of over €18bn from 2017 to 2021.

Green bonds have continued to grow in significance, as the 2023 debt issuance programme commenced with the syndicated sale of a new 20-year Irish Sovereign Green Bond (ISGB) raising €3.5bn – the second-ever ISGB to issue.

The bond issuance in 2023 was at a weighted average yield of 3.19% and a weighted average maturity of 18.5 years.

We expect the average interest rate on Ireland’s debt will remain at c. 1.5% this year, and that the interest bill will be at a similar level to 2023 and 2022. Indeed, we expect the interest bill to stay relatively stable over the next three to four years.

Our pre-funding strategy means that we have over €27bn in cash and liquid assets at the half year point, which reduces the requirement for borrowing in the coming years.

Ireland’s public debt has one of the longest average maturities in Europe. At 10 years currently, the long average life of the medium/long-term debt portfolio means debt maturities are relatively limited in the years ahead, reducing refinancing risk.

So far in 2024, the NTMA has issued €5bn in benchmark bonds at a weighted average yield of 2.75% and a weighted average maturity of 12.1 years. Given the strong cash position and fiscal outlook, there is just one bond auction scheduled for Q3 2024.

Ireland Strategic Investment Fund

ISIF made 23 investments totalling €839m in 2023, bringing total ISIF commitments to €7.2bn across 213 investments and €11.1bn of co-investment commitments since inception, a co-investment multiple of 1.5 times.

So far in 2024, ISIF has closed a further €927m in investments across its key themes of climate, scaling indigenous businesses, housing and enabling investments and food and agriculture.

€776m committed as part of €1bn 5-year climate investment programme announced in 2021.

€1.3bn committed to residential housing across a wide range of tenure types at end-2023.

ISIF’s portfolio increased by 4.3% in 2023, reflecting strong public equity and fixed income market gains amidst a challenging environment for private market investments.

ISIF has generated €2.3bn of accumulated returns between inception and end-2023, an annualised return of 3.1% per annum.

National Development Finance Agency

Construction on Higher Education PPP Bundle 1 continued on schedule in 2023, paving the way for the delivery of over 5,100 student places in three Technological Universities (Technological University of the Shannon, Technological University Dublin and Munster Technological University) and at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology when construction completes between late 2024 and mid-2025.

Construction on Project Nore, the first bundle of Exchequer funded schools programme, commenced in October 2023. This project will deliver seven schools across four counties (Kildare, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Westmeath) accommodating c. 4,000 pupils.

Further progress in PPP social housing delivery with Bundle 7 announced in November 2023, which is expected to deliver c. 650 homes across six sites in Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Wexford. This brings the total delivery under the PPP programme to c. 4,500 homes.


Provided financial and commercial advice to Government Ministers and Departments during 2023 in relation to 22 commercial State bodies.

Four commercial State bodies (AirNav Ireland, RTÉ, TG4 and Vhi) were designated to NewERA during 2023 while the Land Development Agency was designated to NewERA in January 2024, bringing the total number of designated bodies under NewERA’s remit to 23.

Delivered advisory assignments during 2023 with a value of €8.85bn across 153 assignments.

Focus on energy and climate related assignments to assist in the transition to a lower carbon energy future.

Climate Action Framework for the commercial State sector adopted by 26 commercial State-owned companies at end-2023, supporting them in meeting their objectives under the Government’s Climate Action Plan.

State Claims Agency

Managing a portfolio of 11,137 active claims across its general and clinical claims portfolios at end-2023. The SCA resolved 3,410 claims in 2023.

Fifty-five per cent of claims resolved were resolved without court proceedings.

The SCA continued to pursue mediation as an alternative to the formal court process through 2023, particularly with regard to complex clinical claims. Forty-one per cent of claims concluded by the clinical claims team in 2023, where damages were paid, involved a mediation process.

Legal Costs Unit settled 1,447 claims for legal costs incurred by third parties, achieving a 40% reduction on the amounts initially claimed.

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