Growth in the country's manufacturing sector remained strong in January as new orders expanded at the fastest pace in 18 months. 

However a sharp rise in input costs dented profit margins, the latest Investec Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index shows.  

Investec's Manufacturing PMI was almost unchanged in January, easing very slightly to 55.5 from 55.7 a month earlier. 

But it stayed well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction despite last year's Brexit referendum.  

Firms appear to have weathered an initial hit from key trading partner Britain's decision to leave the European Union, recovering from a slowdown in momentum before and after June's vote. 

Ireland, the EU's fastest-growing economy, is widely seen as the bloc member most at risk from Brexit. 

"Panellists reported higher demand from both new and existing clients. Interestingly, some respondents indicated higher new orders from the UK, a welcome - if somewhat surprising - outturn given recent currency moves," Investec Ireland's chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said. 

Currency moves - namely the weakness of the euro against the dollar and price rises at UK suppliers - were among the factors respondents noted as being behind the acceleration of input cost inflation at the fastest rate since October 2012. 

Higher commodity prices also contributed to the sub-index measuring input prices rising to 60.1 last month from 55.3 in December. 

Some firms were able to pass on at least some of the cost pressures as output prices grew for the eighth successive month. 

But the profits component - a new addition to the index - dipped back into negative territory after posting a modest increase in December, Philip O'Sullivan said.