THE UK economy faces a difficult year in 2013, Britain's prime minister has warned.
Ireland's biggest trading partner will need to stick with its current mix of low interest rates and budget deficit reduction to combat the challenge, according to David Cameron.
He made the comments in a BBC interview yesterday.
The UK remains Ireland's most important trading partner, in part thanks to strong demand for food, drink and traditional manufactured goods.
Irish goods exported to the British market are more likely to be produced by labour intensive, domestically-owned companies and by small- and medium-sized business than exports to other markets.
It means UK demand is a significant driver of Irish jobs.
The coalition government has to sustain a "credible strategy" for controlling the budget deficit, he said.
Standard & Poor's last month lowered its outlook on the country's top AAA credit rating to negative, citing weak economic growth and a worsening debt profile.
However, Mr Cameron has insisted that the UK economy was on the "right track".
Unemployment was declining and there were signs that the economy was rebalancing toward growth drivers such as manufacturing, the prime minister said.