Belfast Telegraph

Noonan hails strong economic growth

Ireland's rebounding economy is growing at its strongest rate for more than a decade, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said.

The latest quarterly national accounts show the value of what we produce rose 7.7% between April and June compared to the same time last year.

When income earned in Ireland but which goes to companies or individuals overseas - through multinationals and foreign firms - are taken out of the equation, the home economy grew 9%.

"This is the strongest growth rate recorded since the early 2000s and shows that the strong and stable recovery in the Irish economy is well under way and is starting to be felt across all sectors of the economy," said Mr Noonan.

"Most encouragingly, the figures are showing the domestic economy growing with consumer spending up 1.8% year on year."

Mr Noonan said the latest report from the Central Statistics Office confirms the Irish economy is in a very strong position for the rest of the year and into 2015.

"Creating jobs and supporting work remains this Government's top priority and strengthening and deepening the economic recovery is the best way to deliver on this," he said.

The finance minister said the economy was now performing better than expected, and there may be no need to further hike taxes or cut public spending in the near future.

But he ruled out a generous budget.

"We want to get away from the boom and bust model," he said.

"So we will budget prudently to secure the growth, to sustain the growth, to make people safe in their jobs."

But business leaders have demanded tax cuts on the back of the positive outlook.

Fergal O'Brien, chief economist with business representatives Ibec, said Ireland now has the strongest performing economy in the Europe and it appears the catastrophic recession can be consigned to the history books.

"The strength of the recovery is now such that Government does not need any additional austerity measures to fix the public finances," he said.

"It needs to keep a steady hand on expenditure, but has the capacity to cut taxes on budget day."

Mr O'Brien said cuts to income and consumer taxes would help create more jobs and lead to a more stable economy.

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