The credit ratings agency Moody's yesterday cut its rating of four Irish banks to junk status, citing its concerns over the imminence of new funding which was due at the end of February.

The outgoing Irish government told the press this week it will not make extra funds available before the general election on 25 February.

But the main Irish opposition parties, who are assured to form the next government, have expressed their opposition to further bank aid for Ireland.

Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks, EBS Building Society and Irish Life & Permanent were all downgraded by the agency.

Meanwhile, Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, both of which have already been given junk status, were cut even further.

Moody's Investors Service is one of the big three credit ratings agencies.