Demand for gas was up across all sectors of the economy in the first six months of this year, according to a mid-year statement from Gas Networks Ireland.

Residential demand was up by 6%, but demand across industry grew significantly as pandemic restrictions were eased.

In the transport sector, for example, demand for gas was up 118%.

In construction, the increase was of the order of 25% while it was up 18% in manufacturing and 13% in hospitals.

Gas also remained the main provider of Ireland's electricity generation through the first half of the year, supplying 46% of the country’s total electricity demand and more than 71% at its peak.

Wind provided 32% and coal and peat collectively provided 10% of power generation, according to the statement.

However, gas demand for power generation was down 6% compared to the same six month period last year.

That was largely accounted for by a number of gas-fired power plants being offline for planned and unplanned maintenance, the statement said.

"As our economy began to progressively emerge from Covid-19 restrictions, we saw the demand for gas recover and rise across key sectors, supporting companies to begin commercial activity again," Gas Networks Ireland's Head of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Mullins, said.

"Even in the face of outages at a number of gas-fired power plants, gas continues to provide an important foundation for electricity generation and back-up to renewable energy when required," he added.