GDP growth: Ireland's economy powered ahead in the first quarter

Jessica Morris
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First quarter growth was also revised up to 1.2 per cent (Source: Getty)

Ireland is that little bit closer to having the fastest growing economy in Europe for the second year running.

The country's Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the economy grew 1.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 compared with the previous three months, but slightly below economists' expectations for a 1.5 per cent rise.

Last year's growth was also revised up to 5.2 per cent last year, above the 4.8 per cent previously estimated.

Yesterday the central bank of Ireland upped its growth forecasts to 4.1 per cent this year, and 4.2 per cent next year. In April, its economists said they expected growth of 3.8 per cent in 2015, and then 3.7 per cent in 2016.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said growth this year could be slightly better than four percent the government currently forecasts.

"The figures show upward momentum, particularly in the domestic economy. It definitely points to four percent plus and it is possible to imagine five," Austin Hughes, chief economist at KBC Bank Ireland, said.

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