How big is 'too big to fail'?

The excellent NamaWineLake blog worries that we're getting too big to fail, that is, that the debts Ireland is wracking up are so large as to threaten the stability of the Euro system, which we are a very small part of. He/She/It writes:

"The Commission has authorized 286 billion Euros of support measures, over 170% of Irish GDP equivalent to 60.000 Euros per person."

Which is a fair chunk of change. All of the available short term liquidity, as it happens. If, say, Portugal need the fund in the next few months, that might very well upset the applecart in the Eurozone.

Now it looks like Ireland's banks[1][2], and not the State itself, are being pushed for a bailout in Europe. The Irish Central Bank looks like it is creating a kind of reverse-repo operation, where they give bonds to the ECB, and the ECB in return gives the banks cash. The Irish Central Bank looks like it is keeping Ireland's private banks liquid, but that can't sit well with the ECB, as it would essentially be funding recalcitrant Zombie through the Irish Central Bank for some time to come. The important question, as far as I can see it, is the set of conditions associated with any bailout. A 'request' for a bailout from the EU in order to safeguard other member states' borrowing might be a lighter burden to carry than a request for a bailout from the Irish sovereign in 4 months' time, cap in hand, as it were.

Meanwhile elsewhere, 10 year bond spread are narrowing, but 2 year spreads are really narrowing.

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