The State body that manages Ireland's borrowings has sounded a warning note today in the wake of the Brexit vote and it cautioned the country's debt "remains high". 

The National Treasury Management Agency's CEO Conor O'Kelly said "debt is over €200 billion and the UK referendum outcome is a reminder that Ireland is not immune to domestic or external shocks".

Mr O’Kelly added that markets had been volatile in the wake of the Brexit vote.

He said it will take time to assess the full effects on Ireland's cost of borrowing on the markets.

He added: “Ireland's funding position is strong and the NTMA, having raised some €6 billion of its full year target of €6-€10 billion in advance of the UK vote, can monitor developments without any immediate funding pressures."

The NTMA's annual report showed Ireland’s interest bill on its debt fell below €7 billion in 2015 helped by early repayments on an IMF loan.

The NTMA also said a combination of a reduction in borrowing costs and credit rating upgrades have seen the country’s debt dynamics improve considerably over the past 18 months.

NTMA taking advantage of favourable conditions

The NTMA said it has used these favourable conditions to lock in lower interest rates and secure longer bond maturities.

The average cost of Irish borrowing has fallen steadily in recent years; from a 2.84% average rate in 2014, to 1.51% in 2015, and has now fallen below 1% this year.

The average maturity of Irish debt has risen from seven years to 12 years since 2012.

This has been helped through the issuance of the NTMA’s first 30-year-bond in 2015, while this year it issued Ireland’s first 100-year bond for €100m at a rate of 2.35%.

There has also been a strong improvement in Ireland’s credit rating, with Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch all assigning an ‘A’ rating to the country.

On the CSO's Gross Domestic Product figures showing Ireland grew by 26% last year, Mr O'Kelly said "We have been actively talking to investors. When you are explaining you are losing - but I would not get too excited about what happened. There are lots of other pieces of data you can use." 

Meanwhile, Michael Noonan - who attended the NTMA report launch - paid tribute to the former UK Chancellor.

Mr Noonan said: "George Osborne was a good colleague and a friend to Ireland."

He added Mr Osborne was very helpful when Ireland needed funding to stabilise the public finances and Britain lent money to Ireland with a bilateral loan.

Mr Noonan said he hoped to have good relationship with the new Chancellor, Philip Hammond. 

On the Government here, Mr Noonan said it is "united and stable. But it is a minority Government.

He added: "It is different, it is a new experience, we have not had it previously."