Economic growth in the third quarter was largely unchanged from the second quarter, according to the new figures from the Central Statistics Office. 

Quarterly National Accounts figures released this morning show that the economy, as measured by GDP, grew by 0.1% in the three months to the end of September. The figure was weaker than had been expected.

Using GNP, which strips out the effect of multinational companies, the economy grew by 0.5% in the three month period. 

Compared with the same period last year, the economy has grown by 3.5% in GDP terms and by 2.5% in GNP terms. 

Second-quarter growth was revised down from a previous estimate of 1.5% to 1.1%.

After the economy surged in the first six months of this year, little if any quarter-on-quarter growth is needed for the rest of the year to meet Government projections for economic growth.

Today's figures show that exports remained resilient in the three months from July to September. Total exports were up 2.7% in the quarter and 15.5% in the year. 

Personal spending was flat in the quarter, but analysts said that domestic demand will this year make its first positive contribution to economic growth since the financial crisis.

The impressive start to the year, which saw employment and exports grow sharply prompted the Government to upgrade its 2014 growth forecast three times in September and it expects GDP growth of 4.7% for the year as a whole.

Commenting on today’s GDP figures, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that Budget 2015 is built upon GDP growth of 4.7% for this year and 3.9% for next year. 

He said today's CSO figures show that GDP rose by 4.9% in the first nine months of the year and therefore the country is on target to meet the Budget forecasts.

"The economy continued to grow in Q3, albeit at a slower rate than the exceptional growth rates seen in Q2, and most importantly this growth is translating into jobs," the Minister added.

He said that the strong income tax and the VAT figures seen in recent Exchequer figures, along with the positive high frequency data, highlight the ongoing recovery in the Irish economy. 

Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said the country's economic growth so far this year is significantly higher than the euro zone average. He said that Ireland was well on track to be the best performer in the euro zone this year.

"Following these latest figures it now looks like real GDP growth for the whole of 2014 will be around 4.5%, down from our previous projection of 5%," Mr McQuaid said. 

The economist said that while the euro zone as a whole is struggling, Ireland has benefited from its close trading ties with the US and UK, two of the strongest economies this year. 

"Competitiveness gains made against the rest of Euroland in recent years have also helped. But the most encouraging aspect is the pick-up in domestic demand, which augurs well for 2015," he added.