FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan is meeting the head of the IMF in Washington amid major uncertainty over whether the country will apply for a €10bn 'safety net' loan to exit the bailout.
The Government is understood to be leaning in the direction of managing without such a facility, with Mr Noonan saying recently that he already had the cushion of a €25bn cash pile borrowed for next year.
But his department has said that the issue was still "finely balanced". It is concerned that signing up for a €10bn loan facility would lead to restrictive conditions similar to the current €85bn bailout programme which ends on December 15. But it would also like the reassurance of having the ability to get a large loan at a reasonable rate of interest in case an unforeseen crisis made borrowing on the international markets too expensive for the country to afford.
A spokesman for Mr Noonan said that no decision had yet been made on seeking a safety net loan – and that it would be up to cabinet to make the final decision. "It's finely balanced. That's why we're having these meetings to discuss the options," he said.