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IMF to send "around a dozen" for Irish talks

An International Monetary Fund spokeswoman reveals that several “banking experts” are on the way for crisis talks.

Ajai Chopra, the IMF's deputy director of European operations, will lead the IMF's delegation to the crisis talks.
Ajai Chopra, the IMF's deputy director of European operations, will lead the IMF's delegation to the crisis talks.
Image: Peter Morrison/AP

THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND has said it is summoning around a dozen representatives to attend talks with the Irish government, which could lead to the country being offered a bailout.

A Washington spokeswoman for the IMF, Caroline Atkinson, told the Guardian that the formal negotiations would kick off at the Central Bank tomorrow morning, and would involve a significant IMF presence which would include several “banking experts”.

The IMF’s mission would be led by Ajai Chopra, the deputy director of the IMF’s European operations, who has already arrived in Dublin for preliminary meetings with Central Bank representatives.

Atkinson stressed that Ireland had yet to ask for financial assistance, and that the purpose of the talks was to identify ways Ireland could “support financial stability” and “protect against market risks”.

Earlier, finance minister Brian Lenihan admitted that the prospect of having a contingency fund put in place as a result of the talks was “very desirable”, while central bank governor Patrick Honohan said he expected an aid package for the banking sector to run into “tens of billions” of Euro.

Earlier this week – issuing its first public comment on the Irish situation since the Eurozone debt crisis intensified – the organisation said that the talks being held at the Central Bank today were initiated on the request of the government.

“We welcome the intention of the Irish authorities to implement a decisive multi-year fiscal plan and measures to bolster and strengthen its financial sector,” that statement had read.

“At the request of the Irish authorities, an IMF team will participate in a short and focused consultation, together with the European Commission, and the ECB, in order to determine the best way to provide any necessary support to address market risks.”

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Gavan Reilly

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