Ireland’s 26.3% growth figure questioned by NTMA

Ireland’s 26.3% growth figure questioned by NTMA
Conor O Kelly with Minister Michael Noonan

One of Ireland's most senior financial officials has confirmed international investors have contacted this country due to widespread concern and disbelief at last week's claimed 26.3% GDP growth, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Irish Examiner Political Reporter.

Speaking during a Dáil Public Accounts Committee meeting on Thursday, National Treasury Management Agency chief executive Conor O Kelly said companies have been in contact, adding: “If you're explaining, you're losing. And a lot of explaining has been done.”

Responding to questions from Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane, Mr O Kelly described the alleged growth rate as "distorted" and said investors are now using other economic indicators because the 26.3% figure cannot be believed.

Asked if companies and multi-million euro investors from abroad have “been in touch” with Irish officials, the senior expert said: “I don't disagree. They [the figures] have been distorted.

“It [GDP] is now a less valuable tool for investors to use.”

Despite initial projections at the start of this year that Ireland would benefit from a steady 7% GDP growth rate in 2016, follow-up projections revealed last week said the figure is in fact 26.3%.

The new rate is linked to a number of questionable factors, including the decision by a number of lucrative firms to move their official headquarters from Caribbean tax havens to Ireland.

The situation, which has been openly ridiculed by a series of bodies, officially improves Ireland's top level financial figures.

However, it also means that Ireland will now have to contribute more to the EU budget this year, with the Department of Finance confirming this sum is in the region of €280m.

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