The latest forecast predicts that Ireland will continue to be the fastest growing economy in Europe.

The European Commission's spring forecast shows that the Irish economy is booming.

Brussels predicts Ireland will continue to have the fastest growth in the EU next year.

A growth rate of 4.9%, double the EU average is predicted. The European Commission also says that Ireland’s budget deficit will be at 1.6% next year, well below the 3% cut off set out in the Maastricht guidelines. Furthermore, unemployment will fall to 12.8% and overall government debt will be at its lowest since 1980.

EU Commissioner Yves-Thibault de Silguy is optimistic about Ireland’s future.

Ireland is among the best pupils in Europe.

While this is good news for Ireland, the European Commission estimates the British deficit will go to 3.7% next year putting it well in excess of the Maastricht guidelines.

Ireland will have to decide whether to be part of the monetary union from day one in the knowledge that its most important trading partner may not be involved.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 May 1996. The reporter is Tommie Gorman.