Ireland’s economy grew by 7.8% last year, making it the fastest growing economy in the Europe Union for the second successive year after growth accelerated sharply in the final three months of the year.
Ireland has rebounded quickly from a 2010 international bailout and its economy benefited in 2015 from further falls in unemployment, a bumper year for retail sales and a weak euro that boosted the country’s large export sector.
The economy expanded by 2.7% on a quarterly basis from October to December, up from 1.5% in the previous quarter, the Central Statistics Office said.
The government had forecast that growth in the economy might exceed 7% and the official forecast for 2016 of 4.3 percent would likely see it retain the mantle of the best performer in Europe.
While sterling’s recent depreciation against the euro may hit export growth this year – given Britain’s trade clout with Ireland – economic data in the first two months have been broadly positive.
Thursday’s figures showed personal consumption rose by over 3% last year, indicating that the domestic economy can pick up any slack.
Robust gross domestic product (GDP) growth is only gradually filtering down to many people, however, and was one of the major factors behind voters rejecting the country’s outgoing coalition at elections last month.
The election produced no clear outcome, making Ireland the latest euro zone state to face a prolonged political stalemate which senior ministers say could take weeks to break.
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