ESRI predicts faster than expected growth, but signals housing and Brexit as threats to economy

Ireland's economy is expected to grow faster than previously thought over the next few years.

The ESRI think tank is forecasting GDP to grow by just under 9% this year and 4.5% in 2019.

However, the report warns that the housing crisis and Brexit are the main factors that threaten to damage the economy.

Kieran McQuinn from the ESRI said it is important the Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe adopts a neutral budget strategy:

Mr McQuinn said: "First of all because we feel Brexit and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit to be increasing, which we see as a significant concern for the economy in 2019.

"But we also recognise that the economy needs significant investment, particularly the provision of social housing is a concern.

"So, when we weigh those factors up overall, a neutral budgetary strategy is optimal going into the new year."

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