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Ireland ‘To Apply For Bailout Package

Ireland’s finance minister is to recommend the country applies for an international package to help rescue its economy

Brian Lenihan said he would ask Cabinet colleagues to agree on a bid for a bailout loan from Europe and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Irish government was today meeting to finalise a four-year programme of steep spending cuts.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen and ministers were due to set out tough austerity measures aimed at saving 15 billion euro by 2014.

However, Mr Lenihan confirmed to RTE he would propose an application be submitted requesting help from the EU and the IMF.

In an interview the State broadcaster, he said: “I will be proposing to my colleagues that we should formally apply for a programme.

“I believe it’s important that this state continues to fund itself in a stable way.

“We spend about 19 billion (euros) more as a state than we’re bringing in.”

Mr Lenihan did not reveal how much money the country would be looking for, but reports suggested any bailout may run to tens of billions of euros.