Ireland’s government looked close to collapse on yesterday after the junior coalition partner said it would withdraw support after next month’s budget.

Ireland on Sunday requested a bailout from the European Union and IMF, likely to be worth around 80 billion euros, to shore up its banks and budget against the effects of the global credit crunch.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s government is imploding amid national outrage at the economic crisis, the bailout and a draconian austerity program set to last for another four years.

Opposition parties demanded an immediate dissolution of parliament.

“What is needed now is an immediate general election so that a new government, with a clear parliamentary majority, can prepare the four-year economic plan,” Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said in an e-mailed statement.