The number of people coming to live in Ireland is set to decline in the next four years, according to stockbroker Davy. Its says that economic growth will be just 2% this year, one of the lowest forecasts so far.

Davy's report says house prices fell 10% last year and are likely to do the same this year, but it predicts that the worst of the economic slowdown be limited to this year.

It says the economy should grow by 3.5% to 4% a year from 2009 to 2011, compared with 2% to 2.25% in the euro zone as a whole.

The broker says investment in education, low tax on labour and comparatively healthy public finances put Ireland in a good position.

It says immigration will fall, with net migration dropping to 45,000 this year - almost half of what it was in 2007. It will drop to 20,000 by 2010.

Despite this, Davy says demographic factors favour the Irish economy, and the population should still grow by around 1.5% a year to 2011. The report says the labour force could grow at an even faster rate as the female participation rate is 'far below average' and labour taxes are low.

Davy also says the country's low public debt leaves scope for continued borrowing in order to invest in infrastructure.