Activity in the country's manufacturing sector rebounded in February to a 15-year high after a relatively weak January as strong new orders helped boost employment in the sector. 

The Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index climbed to 57.5 in February from 55.1 a month earlier. 

The index has been above the 50 mark denoting growth for most of the past two years. 

Investec Ireland chief economist Philip O'Sullivan described the manufacturing survey as "surprisingly good" considering uncertainty around Greece and Ukraine and Britain's May general election. 

If it wins, the ruling Conservative Party has pledged to hold a referendum on the country's European Union membership, which would have implications for Ireland, whose biggest trading partner is Britain. 

"Today's report gives an indication of how resilient this growth is, but we would caution that any uncertainty ahead of the upcoming UK election is likely to put that to the test," O'Sullivan said. 

The sub-index measuring employment hit its highest level since the survey began in 1998 as firms beefed up capacity.

New orders hit a six-month high of 59.3, the index showed today.