Irish economy will be a star performer - Goodbody
Ireland will be among the top performing economies in the eurozone in 2014, Goodbody has forecast as the stockbroker raised growth forecasts for the year.
Goodbody's upbeat assessment of the economy says 2014 will be a landmark year as the Budget returns to a primary balance for the first time since the crisis began.
It is projecting gross domestic product to grow 2.6pc, strengthening in 2015 to 3.2pc.
This is more ambitious than the Government's own projections and is similar to those put forward by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
Goodbody economist Dermot O'Leary said Irish GDP data was failing to capture some of the most encouraging trends in the economy since before the crisis.
"The phrase 'the devil is in the detail' is particularly apt when looking at indicators of the health of the Irish economy," Mr O'Leary said.
"A casual glance at GDP growth data over recent years would suggest that the economy, after a sharp contraction in the 2008-2010 period, recovered in 2011 and faltered again over the 2012/2013 period.
"This does not tell the full story. It is true to say that Ireland's recovery is slow and protracted, but the GDP data hide some more encouraging trends in 2013."
Mr O'Leary said a broad- based recovery in investment is taking place in the domestic economy.
He said that excluding the aircraft sector, which contracted last year, investment grew by 17pc year-on-year in the third quarter of 2013 -- its fastest pace on record, albeit from very low levels.
Construction investment is also expected to grow strongly over the coming years on the back of rising prices and supply shortages in the greater Dublin area in particular, Goodbody said.
The company forecasts that, at 2.6pc, Ireland will be the third-fastest growing economy in the euro area, behind Latvia at 4.1pc and Estonia at 3pc.