Ireland blocks EC aid package

BRUSSELS (Reuter) - Ireland blocked a dollars 164bn ( pounds 110bn) aid package for the European Community's poorest regions early yesterday.

At the end of an all-night EC ministers' meeting, the Irish government vetoed an accord on new rules governing regional aid funds, saying it had not won the share of the aid it had been promised. 'We were looking for assurances on the basis of the understanding at Edinburgh, and they were not forthcoming,' said the Foreign Minister, Dick Spring.

Ireland says it won informal guarantees at last December's Edinburgh summit that it would retain its current 13.5 per cent share of the funds. EC officials said less had been offered.