Taoiseach Brian Cowen has called for an end to the 'overwhelming negativity' about the economy, saying it was not in our national interest.

Addressing the Irish Exporters' Association in Dublin last night, Mr Cowen spoke of the community spirit he had seen in recent days as some communities face a very difficult situation because of the weather.

He said this was an indication not only of our resilience but of our determination to work together and rebuild the country.

He said: 'This overwhelming negativity needs to stop because it's not in our national interest to see that continue.

‘It is portraying our country as incapable of coping when in fact all of the success we had in the past was not illusory.

'It is the community spirit that I have seen throughout the country in recent days as some communities face a very difficult situation because of the weather conditions.’