Deal on Irelands debt could be reached

A deal to save Ireland billions of euro, by extending the amount of time it has to repay part of the bailout debt, could be reached in Brussels today.

Talks on extending the maturities on the portion of the bailout that came from Europe will continue among EU Finance Ministers today - and it's understood the Eurozone Ministers are looking favourably on the deal.

The Finance Minister Michael Noonan will chair today's meeting of all 27 EU Finance Ministers in Brussels - with a deal on extending the maturities of the EU loans received by Ireland and Portugal on the agenda.

The proposals would see the length of time Ireland has to repay its debt extended from 12 years for most of the loans - to 15 years, saving billions of euro and taking some of the pressure for harsh budgets off the Government.

It's understood the IMF will not be extend the maturities on its part of the bailout.

The Government is cautiously optimistic that a deal will be reached today.