New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the economy – as measured by gross domestic product – grew 6.7% in 2018.

This made it the European Union's fastest-growing economy for the fifth year in a row, although the figures were flattered once again by statistical distortions. 

The relevance of using the conventional measure for economic performance as an accurate measure for such an open economy diminished when 2015 GDP growth was adjusted up to 26% after a massive revision to the stock of capital assets. 

Such distortions, related to Ireland's large cluster of multinational companies, boosted the figures again early last year and meant growth for the year as a whole came in just below the inflated 7.2% posted in 2017. 

But a range of other more stable data from employment to retail sales point to very strong growth in the real economy.

The CSO has begun to phase in new measures which strip out some of the distorting globalised activities.

One such measure, modified domestic demand, expanded 3.3% and should be regarded as an important indicator of changes in underlying demand last year, the CSO said in a statement. 

GDP expanded by 0.1% on a quarterly basis from the three months from October to December, compared with 0.9% in the previous quarter. 

The annual growth cut the country's debt as a percentage of GDP to around 68%, Michael Connolly, a senior statistician at the CSO said. 

The Central Bank has forecast that GDP growth will moderate to 4.4% this year if Britain leaves the European Union with an agreement but eke out growth of 1.5% if the UK crashes out of the bloc without a deal.