New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that consumer prices fell by 0.1% in November on an annual basis due to cheaper clothing and footwear as well as lower prices for food and furniture. 

This marked the fourth month in a row of falling prices. 

The annual inflation rate hit its highest level in three years in July, when prices rose 0.5%.

But it turned negative again in August later as consumer prices remained muted despite three years of strong economic growth.

Consumer prices were also 0.1% lower on a monthly basis, today's figures show.

The CSO said the price of food and non-alcoholic drinks fell by 2.4% due to lower prices across a range of products including sugar, chocolate and confectionary, bread, milk, cheese and eggs.

November also saw falls in the price of furnishings and household equipment - down 4.3% - while clothing and footwear prices decreased by 2.8% .                                                                                

The CSO said that miscellaneous goods and services - which includes health and motor insurance and personal care appliances - rose by 2.5%, while prices in restaurants and hotels increased were up 1.9%. 

It noted that motor insurance premiums, which surprisingly fell by 8.2% on the month in October after a series of rapid rises, grew by 1% month-on-month in November to stand 11.6% higher on a yearly basis.

Today's figures also show that prices in the alcohol and tobacco sector were 0.9% higher due to higher prices for cigarettes after an increase in excise duty.

This was partially offset by lower prices for alcohol sold in supermarkets and off-licenses.

Commenting on the figures, Alan McQuaid from Merrion Economics said: "Despite the booming Irish economy, inflationary pressures as measured by the headline CPI should in our view remain fairly well contained in the immediate future.

"That said, the cost of services like insurance and education are likely to remain elevated. Indeed, the annual rise in motor car insurance jumped back up to 11.7% in November from 8.6% in October after having dropped from the year-on-year increase of 25.2% posted in September."