National economy returns to growth
The Irish economy has returned to growth, with both home-grown industry and foreign multinationals improving business, official figures have revealed.
It is the strongest performance by the two sides of the economy since the recession hit in late 2007.
Richard Bruton, Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister, who is on a trade mission to South Carolina, said the report is the latest in a growing body of evidence of export-led economic recovery.
He added: "A strong export performance will be crucial in driving the recovery in the wider economy. I am determined that Government will do everything possible to support the continued success of our exports, to get growth back in the economy and get people back to work."
The Central Statistics Office reported a 1.6% increase in gross domestic product (GDP) - the value of all goods and services being produced in the country - between April and June. Gross national product, which focuses purely on Irish business, ignoring the valuable multinationals, also improved, up 1.1% on the previous quarter.
Over the 12 months to the end of April, GDP was 2.3% higher. Average economic growth forecasts for 2011 as a whole have recently centred around the 0.5% mark.
In a breakdown of business sectors the review found agriculture, forestry and fishing and industry, excluding the building trade, were the only areas seeing annual growth, up 6.9% and 10% respectively.
Paul Sweeney, chief economist with umbrella trade union group Congress, urged the Government to move immediately to stimulate domestic demand.
Mr Sweeney warned the Government should not proceed with the planned 3.6 billion euro of cuts and tax rises in the forthcoming budget or face no economic growth next year.
He said: "We need a better way to tackle this crisis. We also need to raise more in tax from high-income earners - as is happening in the United States, France and Spain."