Irish PM Brian Cowen: Economic plan in 'national interest'

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has said his government's plans to deal with Ireland's financial crisis are in the "national interest".

Mr Cowen said that faced with "uniquely difficult" circumstances it was necessary to take steps to secure the economy.

The Republic of Ireland's two main opposition parties have called for an immediate general election following news of a massive EU-led bail-out and loan from the UK.