Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the Irish economy began to stabilise in the third quarter of this year.

Full CSO report

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew slightly during the three-month period.

The CSO said the economy, which is measured by GDP, shrank at an annual rate of 7.4% in the third quarter, slightly less than the 7.9% drop from April to June.

As the definition of recession is two quarters in a row of falling GDP, this means that technically the economy is out of recession.

However, as GDP includes profits made by US multi-nationals based in Ireland, many economists prefer to focus on Gross National Product (GNP).

This showed a quarterly fall of 1.4% and an annual drop of 11.3% in the third quarter.

The Tánaiste has said the CSO figures are being approached cautiously by the Government.

Mary Coughlan said a lot of difficulties still exist and need to be dealt with, but it is good to see the country progressing slowly.