National debt drops to 107% of GDP in 2014 as growth accelerates

CSO figures reveal significant improvement in Government’s debt metrics


Government debt fell to €203 billion at the end of last year or 107.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

This was down from €215 billion or 120 per cent of GDP recorded at the end of 2013.

The improvement was put down to a combination of increased GDP and the early repayment of IMF loans.

The State’s national debt had ballooned to nearly €219 billion or 124.7 per cent of GDP in the first quarter of 2013.

The Irish economy grew by 4.8 per cent in 2014, outstripping even the most optimistic predictions.

At the same time, the Government secured permission from its bailout lenders to pay off €18 billion of its €22.5 billion IMF debt early.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan now expects the State’s debt to fall below 100 per cent of GDP at the end of this year, three years ahead of previous forecasts, bringing Ireland close to the European average.

Under the terms of the EU’s fiscal compact treaty, Ireland is committed to eventually reducing its ratio of debt to GDP to 60 per cent over the longer term.

The CSO figures show Government revenue for the second quarter of this year amounted to €16.9 billion, up €693 million on the same period in 2104.

This was mainly due to increased revenue from taxes and social contributions which was partially offset by reductions in other revenue categories.