Irish economy back at 2007 size, CSO figures show

Irish economy back at 2007 size, CSO figures show

The Irish economy grew faster than expected last year, according to official figures from the CSO - and is now at pre-financial crisis size.

The latest numbers report GDP grew by 5.2% per cent last year, significantly higher than the 4.7% expected in the Budget.

GNP, which strips out the impact of multinationals, shows an even-higher increase by 6.9%.

That means the economy is now the same size as it was before the financial crash.

"What's interesting is that we've now recovered – the size of the economy is now the same size, or in excess of what is was in 2007," said statistician Michael Connolly.

"[That's] in line with recent reports fro the UK and many other countries, getting beyond the point of the crisis."

In other financial figures released today, Ireland's deficit was €2.687 billion in the first quarter of 2015, putting Government debt at 104.7% of GDP.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the "very positive" figures confirmed Ireland's economy as the fastest growing in Europe and its recovery as well established.

“The task now is to build upon the gains we have made in recent years,” he said.

Mr Noonan said sacrifices made since the crash are now paying off.

“Robust growth is being recorded across most sectors of the economy, both domestic-facing and exporting,” he said.

“Exports were strong in the opening quarter, growing by 14.3% year-on-year.

“The multinational sector is contributing but so too are Irish-owned firms. The competitiveness improvements we’ve seen in recent years are standing to us.”

Fergal O’Brien of Ibec, which represents employers, said the numbers will surprise many observers but endorse its prediction that the economy will grow again by another 5% this year.

“The latest figures points to strong and well balanced economic growth,” he said.

“It is particularly positive to see that consumer spending is now accelerating quite rapidly.”

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