Belfast Telegraph

Irish economy 'to register growth for the first time since 2007'

By Brian Hutton

The Republic's economy will have grown throughout last year for the first time since 2007, economists have predicted.

But despite the technical emergence from recession, it will not feel like it for most people as joblessness and emigration continue to haunt the country.

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) think-tank said in its quarterly forecast that the economy will have grown by 0.9% last year. This is less than half of what was originally predicted (2.2%) but it will be the first time the economy has grown on an annual basis for three years.

Official figures are expected next month.

The think-tank has forecast a similarly slight growth rate for the rest of this year - also 0.9%.

While it believes things will pick up next year, to 2.3%, the growth is down to improving exports rather than increased spending on the high street.

The think-tank believes average unemployment will drop from 300,000 last year to 280,000 next year but a lot of this will be down to the continued exodus of people looking for jobs and a better life abroad.

This year alone it is expected that 60,000 people will emigrate.