Consumer consumption on the rise with record car sales and more increased employment as Ireland's economy booms.

The economic boom has left the government with the biggest revenue surplus in the history of the state. The exchequer returns for 1998 show that by years end, the government had more than £747 million in unspent revenue.

The figures show a surplus of income over expenditure of £747 million the largest revenue surplus ever recorded.

In 1998, the government took in £16 billion in taxes, an increase of 13 per cent on the previous year. 

Michael Tutty, Second Secretary Department of Finance, says that the increase is largely due to the increase in the number of people in employment who are now spending the money that they are earning leading to strong economic growth.  

Consumer spending was big across the board. Record car sales resulted in £75 million more than expected in revenue from this sector alone. Alcohol and tobacco sales were also up with cigarettes bringing in £40 million more than anticipated. 

Despite the windfalls and the gains, there will be no special giveaways.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 January 1999. The reporter is Geraldine Harney.