The Government surplus stood at €50m in 2018, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show today.

This represents 0.01% of GDP and compares to a deficit of €83m in 2017, or 28% of GDP.

The CSO said that Government revenues increased by 7.2% to €82 billion last year with government expenditures increasing by 6% to €82 billion.

The main driver of the increase in Government revenues was an 8.2% rise in taxes. Social contributions also rose by 5.8%, while sales of goods and services increased by 5.9%.

But the CSO said that investment income decreased markedly - with a fall of 26.8% - between 2017 and 2018.

On the expenditure side, the CSO noted pay increases of 7.5%, while social benefits rose by 2.5% and use of goods and services grew by 10%.

Debt services costs, or interest, decreased by €0.57 billion, or 9.9%, the CSO added.

Central government collected €78 billion, or 95%, of total revenue in 2018, today's figures also show.

The rest was generated by local government in the form of commercial rates, social housing rents and other capital transfers.

In a separate set of figures, the CSO said the Government recorded a deficit of €1.8 billion (2.2% of quarterly GDP) in the first quarter of 2019.

Government revenue amounted to €18.7 billion in the first three months of the year, up from €17.8 billion the same time last year, and on the back of a 6.6% increase taxes and social contributions.

Government expenditure for the three month period rose by 4.8% to €20.5 billion.

The CSO said the rise was mainly due to higher wage bills, which rose by 4.8%, while use of goods and services was up 5.3% and social benefits increased by 3.5%.