British taxpayers face a multimillion pound bill to help bail out Ireland which last night asked for an international financial rescue package of as much as 90 billion euros, after seven days of denying it would need to succumb to the humiliation of a bailout for its crippled banking system.
The three-year loan will be handed over by the IMF and the EU, whose members last night agreed to support the climbdown by embattled Irish prime minister Brian Cowen.
Additional loans are also being considered by the UK and Sweden, according to The Guardian.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the Deutsche Welle news agency on Sunday that the terms of the deal would be "tough." Nevertheless, he said it would need to be big enough to ensure that "it's not just a shot in the arm, but that it will also help to solve the problem."
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said London might take the extraordinary step of offering direct loans - reportedly up to $11.2 billion - to Ireland as part of an aid package, something that may not sit well with some in his Conservative Party, Washington Post reports.