George Osborne

George Osborne

The UK’s chancellor George Osborne has vowed to help Ireland restore stability to its finances.

Speaking ahead of the Ecofin meeting in Brussels today, Osborne pledged Britain’s support to Ireland in its efforts to fix its ailing banking system.

He said helping its closest neighbour was in his country’s national interest.

“Ireland is our closest neighbour and it’s in Britain’s national interest that the Irish economy is successful and we have a stable banking system. So Britain stands ready to support Ireland in the steps that it needs to take to bring about that stability,” he told reporters today.

Irish Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said he was aware that British authorities are “anxious” to ensure any help that Ireland needs will be given despite the fact the country is not part of the euro zone and has not participated in previous European Union-wide assistance.

Suggestions emerged last night that the UK may be under obligation to provide up to €6bn for any Irish Government bailout. There were also reports that Ireland’s neighbours would extend bilateral loans to stabilise the banking system.

The IMF and the European Central Bank arrive in Dublin tomorrow for discussions about the country’s financial worries.