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Plans being made for emergency Ireland bail-out

Team from EU, ECB, and IMF to agree details of a potential bail-out in case beleagured country asks

Plans are being made for an emergency package to bail out the Irish government in case it asks for help, according to the EU finance commissioner.

Speaking after a meeting of eurozone ministers and financial institutions, Olli Rehn told reporters that "the Irish authorities are committed to working" with the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

While Ireland is still holding out against a bailout for the time being, the multibillion euro deal will be finalised between these bodies within days. Finance ministers from all 27 European countries are set to meet shortly.

The Chancellor, George Osborne, travelled to Brussels last night for this meeting, amid mounting speculating that the UK will be expected to contribute at least £7bn to the bail-out.

It has also been suggested that Britain could extend bilateral loans to stabilise Ireland's banking system.

Yesterday saw further market turmoil amid fears that the weaker eueozone economies could renege on their debt.

The Irish Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, insisted yesterday that Ireland would not be seeking outside help.

The IMF, ECB and EU team will conduct a "short, focused consultation on the best way to avoid market risks" and cut Irish borrowing costs.