New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that production in the manufacturing sector rose by 1.5% in April compared to the same time a year ago.

Production in April was 3.2% higher than in March 2012, the figures reveal.

The CSO said that the seasonally adjusted volume of industrial production for the three months from February to April was 0.6% higher than in the preceding three month period.

The modern sector, which is made up of high technology and chemical industries, saw a monthly production increase of 7.8%. There was also an increase of 0.2% in the traditional sector.

Commenting on today's figures, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that encouragingly and despite the recent concern about the patents expiry issue, production of pharmaceuticals was up strongly in both the month and the year in April. However, he also noted that output of computers and electronic equipment were well down on March.

He said that while the traditional or indigenous sector rose 0.2% in the month, it was down 1.6% in the year in April - the fourth annual fall in the past five months. ''The general weakness in the UK economy as well the depreciation of the pound have impacted negatively on the traditional sector in recent months,'' he said..