It is hard to imagine that Ireland would need to resort to a loan from the International Monetary Fund, an IMF spokeswoman said today.

'I hope Ireland would be interested in our advice but it is hard for me to imagine that they would be wanting our money,' Caroline Atkinson, the IMF's director of external affairs, told Newstalk radio.

Asked if there was reason to fear the IMF coming in and 'running' Ireland, Atkinson repeated it was 'hard to imagine'.

'We think of ourselves more as a doctor with a patient and not a policeman with a criminal,' she said.

The IMF said in June there was absolutely no reason to think that Ireland would default on its debt but called for sustained efforts including spending cuts to cut the budget deficit.