New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that manufacturing production fell  by 7.8% in May compared to April.

There was also a decrease in production - down 4.4% - on an annual basis, the first annual decline so far this year.

The CSO said that production in the modern sector, which is made up of a number of high-technology and chemical sectors, decreased by 12.2%.

The traditional sector saw an increase of 0.6% with the general strength of the UK economy and the weakness of the euro compared to sterling  helping this sector. 

Today's figures also show a decrease of 5.4% in the seasonally adjusted industrial turnover index when compared with April 2015. 

On an annual basis, turnover increased by 13.1% when compared with the same time last year, the CSO added.

Commenting on today's figures, Merrion economist Alan McQuaid said that after a sluggish start to the year, he expects the global economy to pick up speed in the coming months and demand for Irish goods in general should increase as a result, with currency developments, particularly in relation to the dollar and pound a huge plus. 

"Ireland is better placed than most to take advantage of an upturn in the world economy, with the manufacturing PMI in expansionary territory for more than two years running up to June," the economist added.

Mr McQuaid said that after last year's impressive increase of just over 24%, a further strong showing in Irish manufacturing output is forecast for this year. 

"We expect another robust double-digit increase, which at this stage now looks like being in the 15-20% range," he added.