North South Body To Discuss EU Loan

The British-Irish Council is to convene today to discuss the multi-billion euro loan from the UK Government.

The politically sensitive loan from the UK was extended to the Republic by UK chancellor George Osborne last month just after the IMF and EU were called upon for a bailout payment by Fianna Fail.

The British-Irish Council (BIC) will meet on the Isle of Man later today where Taoiseach Brian Cowen is expected to discuss the loan with Britain's deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Taoiseach Brian Cowen said: "We are major trading partners and there is a strong interdependence between our markets. The challenges faced are global and the Irish Government is committed to playing its part in a global recovery."

The BIC was established under the Good Friday Agreement to promote the special relationships between the different administrations in the British Isles. The Isle of Man Summit will be the fifteenth to be held since its inaugural meeting of the BIC in 1999.

Legislation required to facilitate the UK contribution is also due to be discussed in Westminster this week.

Meanwhile, the Irish Government is expected to win this week's crucial Dáil vote on the €85bn bailout from Europe after again getting the backing of Independent TD Joe Behan.

The bailout will be finalised despite Fine Gael's announcement it would join Labour and Sinn Fein along with rebel Independent Fianna Fail TD Mattie McGrath in opposing the vote on Wednesday.

The IMF had postponed a meeting to approve its part of the rescue plan - which includes €17.5bn of funding from the National Pensions Reserve Fund - until after the Dail vote.


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