Irish government sources have denied a BBC report that an intervention by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund is imminent.

The BBC report stated that it was "no longer a matter of whether but when."

But a spokesman for the Department of Finance was adamant last night: "There are no talks on an application for emergency funding from the European Union."

However, BBC News was also reporting that Ireland was, indeed, in "preliminary talks" with EU officials for financial support. BBC business correspondent Joe Lynam stated that  any bailout  might come as early as next month.

The BBC reportes that the sum being discussed was $82-110bn dollars.

European officials told the Reuters news agency on Friday that discussions were under way, with one officials saying that it was "very likely" Ireland would receive financial assistance.

There is a major meeting of EU finance leaders in Brussels on Tuesday of this week when the situation is expected to become clearer.

An Irish government spokesman denied that bailout talks were taking place: "No. We are not in preliminary talks about funding for the State," he told the Sunday Independent.