Ireland officially recorded the biggest government deficit in the EU last year.

Revised figures, published today by the EU's statistical agency, Eurostat, show Ireland's deficit for 2009 at 14.3% of Gross Domestic Product - higher than Greece at 13.6% and Britain's 11.5%.

Public debt stood at 64% of GDP.

Until now, the Government deficit has been shown at 11.8% of GDP, but Eurostat and the Government have agreed that the €4bn injected into Anglo Irish Bank can no longer be regarded as a financial investment, but must be recorded as capital spending.

The €4bn spent on Anglo was equivalent to 2.5% of GDP.

Today's change is a technical revision. It does not involve any new borrowing or spending.

Overall the euro zone deficit level rose to 6.8%, which is more than double the level permitted under the Maastricht guidelines governing the single currency.

The cost to the State of borrowing money has risen on international markets to 4.73%.

Responding to the figures, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said Ireland's plan is on track to bring the budget deficit in line with EU rules by 2014, despite a sharp upward revision of its 2009 budget deficit.

'There is no additional borrowing associated with this technical reclassification,' he said in a statement. 'This is a once-off impact.'

Fine Gael Finance Spokesperson Richard Bruton said the revised figures meant Ireland now had the highest borrowing of any state in the EU.

He described Mr Lenihan's comments as 'nonsense' and said the measurement showed the Government would have to raise taxes or cut expenditure in future budgets.

National debt to rise

Meanwhile, the national debt is expected to rise to €94bn by the end of this year and to €112bn by the end of 2011, from just over €50bn at the end of 2008, the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee has been told today.

Chief Executive of the National Treasury Management Agency John Corrigan said the cost of servicing the national debt this year will be about €5bn.

He also confirmed that the State can borrow money on the international markets at a much lower rate than countries like Greece.

He said yesterday Ireland only had to pay 4.6% for funds, compared to the 8% that Greece is paying.

Mr Corrigan also said about 14% of all taxes collected this year will go to pay for the national debt.