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THE vast majority of Irish business leaders have an "absolute belief" in the country's ability to compete in overseas markets.

New research has found that 97pc of bosses felt that Irish business, supported by government policy, could outperform nations of a similar scale in the global economy.

The study was carried out by Enterprise Ireland and consultancy firm Deloitte ahead of an event for Irish CEOs yesterday.

The research also revealed that nine in ten Irish CEOs felt more confident in the performance of their businesses this year than at the same time last year.

The survey was carried out on 420 CEOs registered to attend this year's CeoForum, which was held yesterday in Dublin Castle. The survey looked at a number of areas that are relevant to the theme of this year's forum – innovation and success in the new global economy.

A similar survey conducted in advance of last year's forum found that just 21pc of business leaders believed that Ireland would return to consistent strong GDP growth in 2013.

However that number has now almost tripled to 69pc when looking ahead to 2014.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who attended the event, said: "It is very positive for Ireland to see increasing confidence among Irish business leaders."