The rise in Government spending - led by wages - raced ahead of growth in the domestic economy last year, according to official figures.
It comes as Public Spending Minister Paschal Donohoe warned that a growing clamour for wage increases must be balanced against the limited available finances - and the looming threat of Brexit. In a speech at an industrial relations conference in Dublin, the minister called for "pragmatism, realism and compromise" amid rising public sector pay demands.
That includes the latest call from the country's main nursing union, which will seek a 12pc pay rise for its 40,000 members on top of general public sector increases in wage talks this year.
Yesterday, official data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed Irish growth levels plunged dramatically in 2015, but that was a result of the most extreme effects of so-called 'Leprechaun Economics' appearing to wear.
Official preliminary growth figures show the economy grew by 5.2pc in 2016, measured in terms of gross domestic product (gdp). That's down from the officially reported 2015 growth rate of 26pc, a widely mocked reading.
Setting those anomalies aside, Irish growth remained the strongest in the European Union last year, dwarfing average euro area growth of less than 2pc.