Last year saw the highest number of births recorded in Ireland since 1896. In total, 75,065 births were recorded.

The figures were published today by the Central Statistics Office.

The CSO has also published the top ten names chosen for babies last year.

Jack tops the boys' names while Ava was the most popular choice for girls.

The CSO also notes that for the first time since 1990, the fertility rate is running at a level that will see the population replacing itself in the long run, ignoring migration.

It has stressed the urgent need for continued investment in the infrastructure of the State despite the current downturn.