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ECB won't comment on report over our 'rescue'

THE EUROPEAN Central Bank (ECB) has failed to confirm or deny a report that the bank considered activating a rescue scheme for Ireland.

Leading German business newspaper, the daily Handelsblatt, reported that the bank, headed by Jean Claude Trichet (pictured), had mulled over such a move but decided against the approach.

A document said emergency support should be provided as "ultima ratio" (a last resort) in case that market financing was no longer available and at penalty terms.

The article came just days after the French daily Le Monde said in an editorial comment that Dublin might have to seek assistance "in the next weeks" from the EU/IMF rescue scheme for distressed euro countries.

An ECB spokesman in Frankfurt said the bank had nothing to say about the report and a a Department of Finance spokesman dismissed the article, saying it had no basis whatever in fact.