The British finance minister, George Osborne, has announced that Britain is ready to help with EU and IMF efforts to rescue Ireland’s banking sector.
Olli Rehn, European economic affairs commissioner, had said the role of Britain in a bailout was “under discussion” just hours after the European Commission and the IMF announced their urgent visit to Dublin.
Irish Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, responded by saying that the British participation was a matter for London.
At a meeting of European Union finance ministers that London, Osborne told reporters, that the group who are not part of the euro zone but are members of the EU, would do “what is in Britain's national interest”.
He said “Ireland is our closest neighbor. And it's in Britain's national interest that the Irish economy is successful and we have a stable banking system…So Britain stands ready to support Ireland.”
Members of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund will arrive in Dublin tomorrow to examine Ireland’s banking sector and finances.
Lenihan said that while no deadlines have been set the Irish Government is intent on engaging in a short and focused with the group. He said it was right that those involved in the possible bailout should see the facts on the ground themselves.
He said that the IMF is involved because it has more experience than the ECB of dealing with banks that have cause difficulties.
The Minister said that Ireland had not applied for funding and was not sure that the country would seek funding from the EU and IMF following the consultation tomorrow.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of the Euro Group, had said earlier that Irish Government has to make a definite decision over the next couple of days.
Head of the European Financial and Stability Fund, Klaus Regling, had said that he is confident he could raise the money if Ireland applied for funding. He has spent time touring to investors in Asia and the US.
EU finance minister in Brussels will continue to discuss Ireland’s situation today. The 16 euro zone ministers will be joined by their 11 counterparts from countries that do not use the euro currency.