New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that production from the country's manufacturing industries fell by 2.3% in May from April.

The CSO said that on an annual basis, industrial production slumped 8% in May compared to the same month last year.

Breaking down the figures, they show that the modern sector - which is made up of high-technology and chemical sectors - showed a monthly fall of 2.5% while the traditional sector contracted by 4.2%.

Pharmaceuticals were down sharply in both the month and the year in May, mainly due to the patents expiry issue on certain products, although weaker global demand also hit the sector.

The seasonally adjusted volume of industrial production for manufacturing industries for the three months from March to May fell by 2.1% compared to the preceding three month period, the CSO added.

Manufacturing growth in the short-term is expected to be primarily driven by industries under the modern umbrella, commented Merrion economist Alan McQuaid.

''Given the still uncertain global economic backdrop, especially in the euro zone and UK, the worry is that overall production will remain subdued in the immediate future, which doesn’t augur well for the prospects of Irish merchandise exports, an integral part of the country’s economic recovery hopes,'' the economist added.