'Leprechaun economics' - Ireland is laughed at over 'farcical' 26pc growth figures
Ministers forced to dampen down new spending demands
Official figures showing the economy grew by an unprecedented 26pc last year have been roundly dismissed as "farcical and meaningless".
Worryingly, the true size of the country's economy is now a mystery because of the distorting effect of foreign companies registering here in order to avoid paying tax elsewhere.
The country's status as a magnet for US multinationals and aircraft-leasing has resulted in our economic output - on paper - soaring.
However, in reality, this alleged growth was driven by companies with little presence here but which are registered in Ireland and so have their activities counted in the statistics.
The Central Statistics Office figures resulted in our international reputation being damaged.
One of the most respected economists in the world, Nobel prize-winner Paul Krugman, mockingly referred to our "leprechaun economics".
Ireland has been widely praised internationally for the speed of the recovery since the crash. But doubts will now be cast on that picture.
Public Spending Minister Paschal Donohoe played down a possible giveaway budget as the figures seemed to show a booming economy.