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    £72 billion Irish rescue package agreed


    by ODN


    An 85 billion euro (£72.1bn) bail-out for the Irish Government from the International Monetary Fund and Europe has been agreed, head of eurozone ministers Jean-Claude Juncker has said.

    The deal for the rescue package was approved at an emergency meeting of European Union finance ministers in Brussels in time for the markets to reopen on Monday.

    The Irish Government applied for the loan last Sunday when it conceded the bank crisis was too big for the country.

    Taoiseach Brian Cowen tonight welcomed the bailout, describing it as "necessary to allow us to fund our budgets over the coming years".

    Eamon Gilmore, leader of the opposition Irish Labour Party, said the potential 5.8 per cent rate of interest to be paid on the IMF/EU loans did not represent a fair bargain.

    "The Fianna Fail government has shown no backbone, no negotiating ability and no authority," he said.