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Cowen to meet Clegg over UK's bailout loan

The Taoiseach and deputy Prime Minister will meet on the Isle of Man on the fringes of a British-Irish Council meeting.

Under-fire Nick Clegg will meet under-fire Brian Cowen on the Isle of Man today.
Under-fire Nick Clegg will meet under-fire Brian Cowen on the Isle of Man today.
Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

BRIAN COWEN is set to discuss the UK’s bilateral bailout loan to Ireland with the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, at a meeting in the Isle of Man today.

The two will meet on the fringes of a British-Irish Council meeting, and will discuss how the House of Commons will react to the bailout legislation when it is discussed in Westminster later this week.

If approved, the UK would be set to offer Ireland £7bn (€8.4bn) in aid, in loans which would be reviewed every six months.

Liberal Democrats leader Clegg will relish the chance to focus on the bailout after facing significant criticism in the UK over his party’s role in increasing university tuition fees, contrary to its pre-election promises.

PA reports that Cowen is also set to brief other ministers from Britain and the UK’s devolved parliaments at the meeting, which will discuss unemployment and the management of the islands’ banking systems.

Attendees from Jersey and Guernsey, as well as representatives from the Isle of Man itself, are also set to attend, according to local broadcaster Manx Radio.

Today marks the 15th meeting of the council, which was founded under the Good Friday Agreement to promote positive dialogue between governments in the North Atlantic Peninsula.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, the North’s First and Deputy First Ministers, are also expected to hold further discussions on agreeing a Budget for Northern Ireland, which has seen fiscal deadlock for the past few months.

Ireland’s Communications minister Eamon Ryan will also attend, RTÉ reports.

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Gavan Reilly

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