EU could foot part of bailout but still no deal
HOPES of using Europe's bailout fund to cover the multi-billion cost of rescuing Irish banks remain alive, after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers agreed how to implement the fund.
However, there is still no firm deal on using the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to help cover the €25bn pumped into AIB and Bank of Ireland.
Ministers did at least decide that the ESM could be used "retroactively" to help pay for banks that have already been bailed out, including the two Irish lenders.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said it meant Ireland was still in the game.
European ministers insisted the retroactive use of the fund would only be decided on a case-by-case basis. That means Ireland will have to formally apply for the use of the fund.
Even if the ESM is used to cover the bailout of AIB and Bank of Ireland, the State will have to cover as much as 20pc of the cost regardless.