Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions fell by nearly 8% last year, with the industry and commercial sector dropping by an unprecedented 20%.

Due to the effects of the economic downturn, all sectors of industry and commerce recorded a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions for the first time in two decades.

The statistics were published today by the Environmental Protection Agency.

They reveal that some falls have been dramatic with emissions from the cement sector plummeting by well over a third.

Agriculture remains the single largest contributor to overall emissions, at 29% of the total, followed by energy and transport - each at over 20%.

Dr Ken Macken of the EPA said the overall decrease is partly the result of improvements that have been implemented.

However, he emphasised the importance of ensuring further measures are taken in order to meet our Kyoto and EU targets for 2020.