Consumer prices rose by 0.2% in September compared to the same time last year, new Central Statistics Office figures show.

The low level of inflation has helped to boost consumer spending power, but is unhelpful for the Government's debt and deficit ratios.

The CSO said the biggest price increases were seen in alcoholic beverages and tobacco, which rose 4.8% due to higher prices for drinks sold in off licences and supermarkets.

Education costs also rose by 4.8% in the year to September, while miscellaneous goods and services costs increased by 2% due to more expensive health insurance premiums.

The price of clothing and footwear fell 4.1% due to sales, while transport costs were 2.7% lower on the back of cheaper petrol and diesel prices as well as a fall in airfares.

The CSO also noted more expensive rents, electricity and gas prices, which were partially offset by lower mortgage interest repayments.

Today's figures show that consumer prices in September fell by 0.1% on a monthly basis. A fall of 0.1% was also noted this time last year.

Commenting on today's CSO figures, Investec economist Philip O'Sullivan said that the "muted" headline rate of inflation provides a degree of respite for Irish consumers.

"Looking ahead, with speculation pointing to a rise in indirect taxes in next week's Budget, we caution that the risks to prices in the near term are tilted to the upside," he added.

Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that the main risk on the inflation front at this point is from the external side, and in particular the price of energy on the global market.

"A sluggish world economy should contain oil prices, but as ever there will be geopolitical risks keeping prices higher than they would otherwise be,'' he added.

The economist said that it looks like deflation rather than inflation is the bigger threat to the economy. He said this is one reason why the Government should try and introduce some stimulus measures in next week's Budget.