23 Mar 2012

Ireland unexpectedly falls back into recession

7:51 am on 23 March 2012

Ireland unexpectedly fell back into recession in the last quarter of 2011, after the global slowdown hit its exports.

The country's economy contracted by 0.2% percent during the quarter, overshadowing the economy's first year of growth since 2007.

Gross domestic product rose by 0.7% in 2011 as a whole, ending three successive years of declines.

But that fell short of government expectations for a 1% rise and Ireland, nearly halfway into a three-year bailout programme, needs growth to accelerate by three times the 2011 total next year if it is to hit targets set by its international lenders.