Economy enjoyed strong 2016, but dipped at start of this year
Ireland's economy grew strongly last year - but contracted at the start of 2017, official figures have shown.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO), which has begun using new techniques to more accurately value business performance, said that traditional yardsticks of measurement - gross domestic product - showed the value of goods and services grew by 5.1% in 2016.
In the first three months of this year, this standard assessment showed the economy shrank by 2.6% when compared to a strong performance at the end of last year.
The CSO also said that when gross national product numbers are examined, which discount the effects of multinationals, the economy shrank by 7.1% in the first quarter.
Despite the short-term dip, Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, said the numbers were very positive.
"This confirms that Ireland was the fastest growing economy in the European Union in 2016," he said.
Mr Donohoe said the economic report was also backed up improving employment figures and tax receipts.
The CSO, which was accused by economist Paul Krugman of "leprechaun economics" after reporting Ireland's economy grew at 26% in 2015, also issued an alternative measurement of growth.
Gross National Income (GNI) is an attempt to strip out performance that heavily distorts Irish economic reports and it will not include multinational profits or depreciation of assets in multibillion euro industries like aircraft leasing .
It was valued at 189.2 billion euro in 2016.