Interesting Q&A with George Osborne in the Wall Street Journal. They ask him straight out if the UK would join the euro-zone in aiding Ireland. His response:
Full article here: Osborne: U.K Is Out of ‘Danger Zone’ - Real Time Economics - WSJI think it is a hypothetical question. Clearly the U.K. has very close economic cultural and historic ties with Ireland and we of course monitor the banking situation there closely. We are in regular contact with the Irish government but as for the question, it is a hypothetical question.
The historic ties are all very well, but more to the point: the UK owns more Irish debt than anyone. I very much doubt the Germans will be prepared to cough up unless the British do the same. This "map of debt" makes interesting reading: Europe's Web of Debt - Graphic - NYTimes.com