The Irish economy has for some years now been something of a fairy-tale. Since joining the European Union, the country has seen its economy go from strength to strength, and in fact Ireland has been dubbed the Celtic Tiger. The Irish Central Bank declared this month that the Irish economy should grow by 5.5 per cent in 2005, which is higher than the official government figure of 5.1 per ccent growth. However according to union representatives this is not necessarily a positive sign as tghis rate of growth can only be sustained by immigration, mainly from eastern Europe, which puts pressure on the social services and housing.

In addition, the recent sharp rise in oil prices may spoil the party by adding costs to corporate balance sheets and triggering a rise in inflation.

There is, however, another cloud on the horizon: the Irish as a nation are becoming heavily indebted and they are still continuing to take out further loans from financial institutions.

The housing market is also worrying central bankers as house prices are increasing rapidly. However the forecast is that in 2005 prices will continue to rise but less sharply.