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Fall-off in production

INDUSTRIAL production in Ireland was the second-slowest of all European countries.

Industrial production here rose 1.4pc in the 12 months to January. Italy was the only country to record a smaller increase among the 27 nations in the European Union.

However, Portugal posted a decline of 0.6pc, the EU's statistics office in Luxembourg said. Countries that suffered economic problems like Ireland's but adopted different solutions, such as hard-hitting austerity programmes, had the biggest rises.