Ireland's Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has said the the Government will accept European Union support if the current banking crisis cannot be resolved by Ireland alone.

Speaking on RTÉ radio this morning, Mr Lenihan said he would be working with EU partners to address structural problems in the Irish banking system, but he declined to set a deadline for the end of the talks, which are due to begin tomorrow.

He told listeners a "short focused consultation" including officials from the European Central bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) will take place in Dublin tomorrow.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Brian Cowen told the Irish Parliament he was working with European officials to tackle the banking and fiscal crisis.

"What we're involved in is working with colleagues in respect of currency problems that are affecting Ireland and other countries," he said.

In his interview this morning, the Finance Minister was insistent that Europe stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Ireland and that the ECB was “fully behind” the Irish banking system.

"Despite a large range of measures adopted by the Government, Ireland is a small country, and if the banking problems in the country are too big for this small country to manage, Europe is making it clear that they will help and help in every possible way to secure the system," Mr Lenihan said.

Mr Lenihan said there was no funding funding issues for the Irish banking system and added: "There is no need to have any concerns over safety of banking deposits."

The ministers comments come in the wake of support from his European colleagues. Speaking in Brussels today, the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble  said the European Union is “ready to act” to help Ireland.

"Ireland has shown itself to be very responsible over the last two years in the crisis and able to act and that's why Ireland doesn't need the counsel of other governments.

"If everyone sticks to what we discussed together, we will best fight the wrong speculations in the markets," he said.

The plan to proceed with preparations for an EU/IMF intervention was taken yesterday during a three-hour meeting in the Belgium capital.

“The ECB has stood loyally behind the Irish banking system and continues to do so. Those who have deposits or funds in the Irish banks can be quite secure as part of the euro zone that we are guaranteed the stability and support of the ECB,” Mr Lenihan said.