Shares in British banks were down on the FTSE 100 as fears about sovereign debt in the eurozone, especially in Ireland, played on investor's minds.

Ireland is widely believed to be considering asking for a bailout for its banks from the EU in the hope that such assistance would remove the need for a bailout of the whole country.

While Irish ministers insist that the country is not insolvent, last week ten year gilts rose to 8.1 per cent, meaning that should Ireland need to borrow in the near term it will face crippling interest rates.

Ireland however is not the only eurozone country with debt concerns. Portugal is also coming under significant pressure to do something about its debts in order to avoid a Greece-style crisis.

By 10:20 shares in Lloyds Banking Group were down 0.17 per cent to 69.45 pence per share, RBS shares dropped 0.40 per cent to 41.74 pence per share, Barclays shares fell 0.76 per cent to 278.35 pence per share and HSBC shares declined 0.10 per cent to 679.10 pence per share.

Overall the FTSE 100 was down 0.24 per cent to 5,782.99.