The country's services sector rebounded to post its strongest growth in 10 months in April on strong new orders and higher prices, a new survey shows today.

The Investec Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) climbed to 61.1 in April from 59.1 in March.

This marked its highest level since last June, when the UK voted to leave the European Union. 

The services sector covers areas as diverse as communication, financial and business services, IT and the tourism trade.

The manufacturing PMI for March, released earlier this week, rose to a three-month high of 55 as new export orders came in at the fastest pace in almost two years.

"Taken together, this week's reports suggest that economic activity in Ireland picked up at the beginning of Q2," Investec Ireland's chief economist Philip O'Sullivan said. 

Growth in Irish services and manufacturing sectors slowed after the shock Brexit vote, and readings have been volatile since.

But Ireland last year remained the best performing economy in the EU for the third year in a row. 

Services have not fallen below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since June 2012, when the country was in the middle of a three-year international bailout. 

Today's survey showed that new orders in the services sector increased in April, but new export orders were the lowest since December. 

New export orders in the period were driven by Europe and North America, Investec noted.

"Irish services companies remain strongly optimistic, with more than 10 times as many firms expecting to record growth in activity over the coming 12 months as opposed to those who anticipate a decline," Philip O'Sullivan added.

Meanwhile, figures from the CSO show that the seasonally adjusted value of services declined by 0.2% in the month of March.

However, in the year to March the value of services increased by nearly 4%.

Professional, scientific and technical activities recorded the biggest increase in the year followed by the wholesale and retail trade.