THE total level of debt owed by financial institutions, companies, the State and individuals fell by €19.9bn to €1.62 trillion in the third quarter of the year,
While the figure is enormous, it takes no account of what is owed to Irish companies and individuals or their assets and is distorted by the country's large financial services sector.
The Central Statistics Office added yesterday that general government foreign borrowing decreased by €400m to €129.3bn between the second and third quarters.
The decline was attributed to a decrease of €1.6bn in money-market instrument liabilities and an offsetting overall increase of €1.2bn in long-term bonds.
Debts to European institutions, such as the European Central Bank, under emergency lending systems which were put in place following the financial crisis fell €400m to €56.6bn at the end of September, the CSO said. The figures include balances in the controversial TARGET2 settlement system.
The liabilities of institutions outside the financial sector increased by €1.6bn to €879.3bn, which represents 54pc of the total debt, the statistics agency added.