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ALMOST three quarters of Irish businesses questioned for a new survey are confident about the prospects for the economy this year.

This is up considerably on last year's study, when just 36pc had a positive outlook, according to Grant Thornton's International Business Report.

It follows a survey which showed insolvencies in the retail and wholesale sector stabilised in 2013, and another study which highlighted an improvement in sentiment.

Grant Thornton said in its report, in which 150 Irish firms were questioned, that there has been a shift in the level of confidence among businesses in the last 12 months.

"Companies look set to grow revenue, profits and employment in 2014 ahead of other European economies, a testament that the difficult decisions companies have made to recalibrate their businesses are now bearing fruit," said Grant Thornton partner Patrick Burke.