The annual rate of inflation fell to 2.3% in January from 2.6% in December, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.

The CSO said that consumer prices last month fell 0.8%, compared to a decrease of 0.5% in January 2004.

The annual rate of inflation for goods was 0.3% in January, while inflation for services was 4.1%.

There was a 15% decrease in clothing and footwear, due to the traditional winter sales.

Transport costs fell by 1.8% as petrol, diesel and flight prices decreased while toll charges and rail fares rose.

Health prices rose by over 3% in the month because of an increase in hospital charges.

There were also increases in electricity prices, refuse collection charges and average mortgage interest repayments.