Strong Irish growth raises prospect of eased austerity

File picture taken on December 11, 2013 shows a general view of the Ulster bank and the financial district in Dublin, IrelandIreland’s economy expanded by a strong 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014 in a fresh sign the eurozone nation is returning to health, official data showed Thursday. The Central Statistics Office figures show GDP in the first three months increased 4.1 percent year-on-year, the strongest growth since 2011. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the data will have a favourable impact on both Ireland’s deficit and debt ratios. He said that the figures indicate Dublin’s deficit this year would be closer to 4.5 percent of GDP, rather than the 4.8 percent previously predicted.

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