Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

Irish economy shrank at record rate in 2009

Demonstrators hold banners as they join a mass protest in Dublin, against the government's approach to the economic crisis
Low confidence in the Irish economy has seen protests in recent months

The Irish economy shrank at a record rate in 2009, according to figures from the Republic's Central Statistics Office.

Preliminary figures suggest Gross Domestic Product fell by 7.1% from 2008 and Gross National Product was down 11.3%.

As GDP includes profits made by US multi-nationals based in Ireland, many economists focus on GNP.

There was no let-up in the slump at the end of the year when GDP and GNP were down 2.3% on the previous three months.

Construction output fell by 32.3% and capital investment dropped by more than 28% on the previous year.

Consumer spending was 5.2% lower than a year earlier.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said the pace of decline in GDP had slowed as the year went on and figures were consistent with what was expected.

He said that, internationally, there were tentative signs of a "modest recovery".

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