The Taoiseach has said it would be wrong for him to pre-empt the outcome of talks with the International Monetary Fund and European institutions.

He was responding to Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, who asked him to confirm that the final figure for the loan facility would be €85 billion. Deputy Gilmore also asked the Taoiseach what the interest rate would be.

Mr Cowen told the opposition parties that the €85 billion figure was being discussed but that it was not a final figure.

The Taoiseach said the interest rate would be a composite of the interest rates from the different funds from which the money would be drawn. He said interest rates mentioned at the moment were purely speculative.

The Labour leader criticised the manner in which incremental information was coming from the Taoiseach. He accused Mr Cowen of giving the country a 'bum steer' on the banks. The Taoiseach said there had been no discussions on bank restructuring.

Mr Cowen also rejected suggestions by Enda Kenny that the loan facility from the EU and IMF would be more expensive for the taxpayer because the Taoiseach ignored his suggestion to bring the Budget forward to next week.

Brian Cowen said that if there were an election and the Budget delayed until January the situation would be more difficult.

It emerged last night that the EU and the IMF would offer the Government an €85 billion facility which can be used to recapitalise the banks and fund the public finances.

The package would see the level of capital in the Irish banks being increased from 8% to 12% in a move to bolster confidence of depositors in the financial system.

Irish bail-out 'around €85 billion' - France

Ireland's international bail-out will probably be worth around €85 billion, France's budget minister and government spokesman Francois Baroin said today.

Baroin also said that French President Nicolas Sarkozy would discuss the bail-out with German Chancellor Angela Merkel by telephone tomorrow.

Baroin said that during the cabinet meeting, Sarkozy 'recalled that France was ready to apply with European Union partners the financial support system set up in the wake of the Greek crisis'.

'We're obviously watching the Irish situation very closely, in particular the efforts that will be asked of Ireland in return, in terms of taxes,' the minister said, speaking on behalf of the government.

Sarkozy said earlier this week that Ireland would have to raise taxes in order to balance its books.

Pressure in Germany on 12.5% corporation tax

Elsewhere, support grew in Germany's ruling coalition for a possible link between aid for Ireland and a cut in the 12.5% corporate tax rate.

'Ireland cannot remain a tax oasis,' said Georg Fahrenschon, the state finance minister of Bavaria, from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Social Union allies.