The country's construction sector posted its 50th successive month of growth in October, but the rate of growth was the slowest in over two and a half years. 

Ulster Bank's Construction PMI showed a reading 54.5 for October. This was down from a reading of 56.5 in September, with weaker rises in total activity, new orders and employment all reported last month. 

Of the three categories measured, housing and commercial reported solid growth but civil engineering activity contracted for the fifth month in a row. 

"The latest results of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI survey show that Irish construction firms continue to report healthy rates of expansion," commented Simon Barry, the chief economist at Ulster Bank.

Mr Barry noted that the headline PMI did ease in October, consistent with some cooling in momentum following a very strong first half of 2017, in the process reaching its lowest level since March 2015. 

"However, at 54.5, last month's reading remains comfortably in expansion territory," he added. 

Today's latest PMI showed that the rate of job creation among construction firms eased in October for the second month in a row. But employment levels continued to rise at a solid pace, with new hiring in response to new contracts.

Increasing workloads also saw companies increasing their purchasing activity, with the rate of expansion at a three month high. 

But Ulster Bank noted that the increase in demand for inputs put pressure on supply chains, which lead to a further lengthening of delivery times. 

There were also reports of raw material supply shortages last month, which added to inflationary pressures. Ulster Bank said the rate of input cost inflation rose to a four month high.

Construction companies remain "strongly confident" that output will increase over the coming year, today's survey showed.