The Republic's economy is predicted to grow three times faster than Northern Ireland's this year, as "austerity dampens domestic demand", it has been claimed.
The province's economy is predicted to grow by just 1.7% in 2015. That has been revised down from 2%, and far behind the Republic's growth of 5.8%. But a new lower rate of corporation tax for the region will "alter the competitive landscape", according to the latest EY Economic Eye Winter forecast.
Michael Hall, managing partner for EY Northern Ireland, said the change would "greatly enhance Northern Ireland's ability to attract foreign direct investment and enable the indigenous companies to reinvest savings back into their businesses".
"Our poll showed that 50% of respondents are moderately optimistic about the prospects for business over the short to medium term, which reflects some good steps have already been taken, but there is still work to do," he explained.
The report added that investment across Ireland "will generate greater wealth levels and the possibility for greater trade between the two economies". But Michael Hall said that austerity was "dampening domestic demand in Northern Ireland now in the same way it did in the Republic in recent years, and there have already been considerable job losses in the public sector as a result".