EIGHT out of 10 company finance chiefs surveyed believe Ireland's six-month presidency of the European Union will help boost business.
But despite the upbeat assessment, the poll of chief financial officers found that optimism has fallen since the autumn.
Some 17pc of those who responded to the Deloitte study said they were optimistic about the future, compared with 37pc after the EU summit last summer which suggested Ireland could get a deal on its banking debt by the pledge to separate banking and sovereign debt.
Almost one in four believe that their turnover will increase in the next six months compared with a net 38pc of people in the three months between July and September inclusive.
Deloitte partner Shane Mohan said there appeared to be a link between confidence and Ireland's efforts to secure a bank debt deal.
"All business leaders require certainty. However, it is clear from this quarter's findings that this remains as elusive as ever," Mr Mohan said.
"A deal on the bank debt may be the green light that many Irish businesses are waiting for before enough confidence is restored for companies to begin investing again."
The Deloitte survey was carried out in September, among larger companies including Irish PLCs and the multi-national sector. Some 30 companies responded to the survey.
Key findings include:
• 10pc believe the Irish economy has returned to growth, while 27pc believe their own company had returned to growth by the end of 2012.
• 37pc expected increased profitability in the next six months.
• Funding from the banks rose to 46pc of all external funding, up from 35pc in the prior period.