IMF says Ireland can manage amid EU rescue talks

Sat Nov 13, 2010 2:02pm EST
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By Jan Strupczewski and Carmel Crimmins

BRUSSELS/DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland can manage on its own, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Saturday, a day after euro zone sources told Reuters the former "Celtic Tiger" was in talks about a possible EU rescue.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told reporters on the sidelines of an Asia=Pacific conference in Yokohama, Japan, that Ireland had not asked the Fund for aid.

"So far I have not had a request, and I think Ireland can manage well," he said.

Euro zone sources told Reuters on Friday that talks on possible aid were under way, and one official said it was "very likely" Ireland would get help from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), set up after Greece was forced to seek help in May.

"We do not really see how Ireland is going to be able to 'hold on' without EFSF help," one euro zone source with knowledge of the talks said.

"Obviously since this implies a pretty tough programme for the government and to some extent a loss of sovereignty, they want to think twice..." the source said.

Euro zone sources said the range of aid under discussion was 45 billion to 90 billion euros, depending on whether Ireland would need support for its banking sector.

The German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag cited EU diplomatic sources as saying Ireland may have to call on up to 70 billion euros, according to a prepublication text sent to Reuters.   Continued...

<p>International Monetary Fund (IMF) Manging Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (C) speaks to reporters on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Yokohama, south of Tokyo November 13, 2010. REUTERS/Rob Dawson</p>