Irish 'haven't asked for aid'

A SENIOR Irish minister said no talks were under way with the European Union on financial aid but did not rule out the possibility Ireland might seek outside help to deal with its debt crisis. "Things are happening day by day," said Justice Minister Dermot Ahern.

A spokesman for the Department of Finance said there were ongoing contacts with international colleagues "in light of current market conditions" but repeated that no application had been made for assistance.

EU sources over the past two days have said that talks on a possible bailout were under way and that Ireland, with borrowing costs rocketing, was unlikely to hold out without assistance.