According to EUROSTAT, the statistical office of the European Union, Ireland was the fastest growing economy in the EU in 2017. First estimates show that real GDP growth in Ireland was 7.8 per cent in 2017 compared with real GDP growth in both the EU and euro area of 2.4 per cent. While headline GDP figures can be exaggerated in an Irish context, other indicators such as consumer spending, labour market developments and taxation receipts confirm the economy performed strongly last year.
According to the European Commission, Ireland is also expected to be among the fastest growing economies in Europe this year with GDP growth of 5.7 per cent in 2018 compared with growth of 2.3 per cent for both the EU and the euro area. This is similar to my Department’s forecast of 5.6 per cent growth this year as set out in the Stability Programme Update 2018 published last month. The IMF is forecasting Ireland's economy to grow by 4.5 per cent in 2018 compared with global GDP growth of 3.9 per cent and growth of 2.4 per cent in the euro area.
The Government’s priority is to ensure continued, sustainable economic growth in order to further increase living standards and reduce unemployment.