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Some bad news for the minister this morning... Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Ireland is officially back in recession

The economy shrank in the first quarter of 2013. And in the last quarter of 2012. And in the third quarter of 2012…

IRELAND HAS OFFICIALLY re-entered recession, according to official data published this morning.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show Irish economic output shrinking by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

When measured as Gross National Product, however, the figures are slightly more positive – showing growth of 2.9 per cent when only domestic firms are included.

However, the CSO’s data also revises its earlier figures for previous growth in the Irish economy – showing the economy fared worse than expected in the second half of 2012.

Gross Domestic Product shrank by 1.0 per cent in the third quarter of 2012 – worse than the -0.4pc figure given three months ago, and significantly worse than the growth of 0.2 per cent in the original figures compiled last winter.

Similarly, the last figures – which said the economy had neither grown nor shrank in the final quarter of 2012 – have been revised downward. The CSO now believes the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent.

The figures mean GDP has fallen for three successive quarters. Generally accepted definitions dictate that an area is in recession if its GDP shrinks for two quarters in succession.

The GDP figures showed that output in public administration and defence fell by 1.5 per cent in the first quarter – likely reflecting the continued downsizing of the public sector.

However, agriculture, forestry and fishing output rose by 4.8 per cent, while industrial output (including building and construction) rose by 2.1 per cent.

Read: Brussels report says Irish economy will grow slightly less than govt forecast

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