Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, welcomed the National Accounts figures published today by the CSO, which show that Ireland was again the fastest growing economy in the EU last year.
Ibec economist Alison Wrynn said “Today’s numbers show that the Irish economy remains in a very strong position. GDP growth of over 7.2% represented an economic output increase of about €20 bn last year.
“Consumer spending growth for 2017 was somewhat weaker than had been anticipated. This was driven by a slowdown in the first half of the year, the latter half saw stronger growth and this momentum carried forward into the first quarter of 2018 with consumer spending up 2.7%. Investment in construction was also strong as investment in housing increased by 27% in Q1 this year, albeit coming from a low base.
“While the overall results today are positive, there are still some challenges facing the economy. Recent US tax reform has improved the tax offering for companies operating in the US which may pose some challenges for our FDI model. At the same time, business costs are rising throughout the economy and undermining our competitiveness. Budget 2019 should tackle these issues by ensuring certainty of the business tax regime and adopting a renewed focus on competitiveness and indigenous business. Very strong growth over the past few years has led to a surge in Exchequer taxes and it is vital that these resources are invested wisely and ambitiously in infrastructure, education and innovation. That will be the most effective way to protect the economy from any future downturn”.