Northern Ireland

EY: Republic of Ireland's economy growth 'three times faster' than NI

Sterling and Euros Image copyright BBC/PA
Image caption EY's economic forecast has predicted differing fortunes for the economies of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland's economy is growing more than three times as fast as that of Northern Ireland, according to the consultancy firm EY.

Its latest forecast predicts the Northern Ireland's economy will have grown by 1.7% in 2015.

In the Republic of Ireland, growth is forecast to be 5.8%.

EY's forecast said austerity measures and a relatively small private sector is hampering growth in Northern Ireland.

Stormont is facing at least three years of contractionary budgets following Chancellor George Osborne's spending review.

In contrast, the Republic of Ireland is now likely to have more expansionary public finances following years of austerity.

It can be difficult to interpret the Republic of Ireland's national accounts due to the distortionary effect of multinational firms moving money through the country.

However, there is a consensus that the country is now growing strongly.

Michael Hall, managing partner for EY Northern Ireland said: 'Austerity is dampening domestic demand in Northern Ireland now in the same way it did in the Republic in recent years, and there have already been considerable job losses in the public sector as a result.

"We must offset this constraint by attracting more FDI [foreign direct investment] in the private sector," he added.

"This will be key to ensuring continued growth and uplift in employment in the coming years."