Despite measures to boost confidence in Irish banks as part of the EU/IMF bail-out, financial institutions had to rely on more emergency support from the Central Bank last month.

New figures from the Central Bank show that, by the end of 2010, it had lent just over €51 billion to Irish banks. This was up more than €6 billion from the €44.7 billion figure at the end of November.

But the amount of loans to Irish banks from the European Central Bank fell back slightly in December, standing at just over €132 billion, a drop of €4.4 billion from December.

The ECB had been lending money banks which could not raise funds normally on international markets, but it has indicated that it intends to wean banks off such emergency support.