Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen has confirmed the country is negotiating an 85 billion euro (£71 billion) bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund and Europe (IMF/EU).
Mr Cowen said the figure has been discussed with the IMF/EU financial rescue mission during two days of talks in Dublin.
“The size of any programme has not been decided but an amount in the order of 85 billion has been discussed,” the Taoiseach said.
The Government will shortly unveil its four-year Budget plan to secure 15 billion euro (£12.6bn) of savings.
In the Irish parliament, Mr Cowen described the bailout as an overdraft and said the talks were proceeding as quickly as possible.
“We’re talking about here, an overdraft, if you like,” Mr Cowen said.
“It’s a contingency, it’s available to us as required. And on the basis of state’s requirements beyond July, for which we are pre-funded, it’s available for draw-down for that purpose as well.”
Mr Cowen later said he was using the term overdraft for “illustrative purposes”, with the negotiations centred on how the money can be drawn down, if required.
“That is a technical and complicated piece of work that is not yet completed,” he said.