A bail-out package for cash-strapped Ireland is in the processes of being pulled together should Dublin ask for it.
The Irish government continues to insist it has enough money to keep the economy going until the middle of next year.
As market concern swells over Ireland’s ability to finance its debt, eurozone ministers met in Brussels to thrash out a potential rescue plan.
Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also chairman of the Eurogroup, said any bailout “should be a decision for the Irish government.”
“We cannot force the Irish government to ask for something which Ireland does not want,” he added.
Brussels is concerned that Ireland’s problems could spread to other vulnerable member states.
If the money was to go purely to the banking sector then reluctant Irish ministers such as Brian Lenihan might accept the funds.
A wider bail-out would bring about strict fiscal conditions, similar to those imposed on Greece in May.