The National Competitiveness Council has warned that, while the overall economic outlook for Ireland is positive, the economy faces significant downside threats.

These include Brexit, a potential shift in trade and taxation policy in the US, and the uncertain nature of global growth, particularly, the potential for slower than projected growth in the UK and US.

In its annual bench-marking report, the council says this makes it crucial that Ireland address the factors it can control, particularly related to costs and productivity.

It adds that developing Ireland's infrastructure base, while complying with the EU's fiscal rules, is a fundamental challenge to enhancing competitiveness. 

Each year the council publishes a report bench-marking Ireland's competitiveness performance.

Ireland's Competitiveness Scorecard provides a comprehensive assessment of Ireland's competitiveness performance, using over 125 statistical indicators.

The indicators are drawn from data sources such as the OECD, Eurostat, CSO and others.

The council is an independent policy advisory body that was established by government in 1997 as part of the Partnership 2000 Agreement.

It reports to the Taoiseach and the Government on key competitiveness issues facing the Irish economy and offers recommendations on policy actions required to enhance Ireland's competitive position.