Are 'the good times' back? Ireland's economy grew by 26% in 2015

Things are booming on paper...

Are 'the good times' back? Ireland's economy grew by 26% in 2015

Photocall Ireland

New figures from the Central Statistic Office (CSO) show that Ireland's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 26.3% last year.

Gross National Product (GNP) - which doesn't include profits from foreign firms which are transferred out of Ireland - increased by 18.7% at constant prices during the 12 months.

However, these figures are inflated by aircraft purchases, corporate restructuring, and companies moving assets (particularly patents) to Ireland from other territories.

Assets have come into Ireland through so-called capital inversion deals - and one aircraft leasing company redomicilled its multibillion euro balance sheet.

However, GDP experienced a surprise decline during the first quarter of this year - it was down by 2.1% while GNP increased by 1.3%.

Trade has been booming, with exports up by 34.4% and imports increasing by 21.7% during 2015.

Personal consumption was 4.5% higher and the Government's net current expenditure increased by 1.1%.

The figures reduce Ireland's debt-to-GDP ratio to below 80%.

Commenting in Brussels today where he is attending a monthly meeting of EU Finance Ministers, the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said:

"I think the figures released by the Central Statistics Office show that Ireland’s economy continues to grow. Peoples’ lives are improving with more at work than at any time since the onset of the downturn. We no longer need to impose swingeing cuts to public services rather we have room to invest in services and infrastructure.

"Ireland is now in a position where we borrow relatively small amounts at very low rates which ensure that investment is made in delivering more than the bare minimum of services to our citizens. These are all evidence of a country growing in real terms."