The economy grew by 3.5% in the last three months of last year, compared to the previous three months, according to an estimate by the Central Statistics Office.

Compared to the fourth quarter of 2021, GDP grew by 13.5%.

The growth was mainly driven by activity in the manufacturing sector, today's CSO figures show.

This means the economy grew in GDP terms by 12.2% in 2022. This compares to the Government's forecast at Budget time of 10%.

It also follows GDP growth of 13.6% in 2021, despite the impact of the Covid pandemic.

Commenting on today's figures, Goodbody Stockbrokers said the country's estimated GDP growth of 12.2% for last year would make Ireland the fast growing economy in Europe in GDP terms.

"This comes on top of the remarkable pandemic performance which saw GDP growth of 13.6% year on year in 2021, bringing Ireland's cumulative GDP growth to 33% since 2019, the last year the pandemic was not in the data," they added.

Today is the first time the CSO has published an early estimate of growth in the economy.

There is no breakdown into how different sectors of the economy performed nor is there a measure of modified domestic demand, which gauges activity in the economy when the multinational sector is excluded.

Quarterly GDP figures can be volatile and these figures will be revised when fourth quarter national accounts are published in early March.

Goodbody Stockbrokers recently predicted a growth rate of 11.2% for 2022 to be followed by a far more subdued growth of 2.3% in 2023.

But when measured by modified domestic demand, it expects growth to fall substantially to 0.7% in 2023. It said this reflected economic headwinds such as a curtailment in household spending in the face of higher living costs and the eventuality of higher mortgage rates.

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath said today's flash estimate of GDP for the fourth quarter of 2022 is a welcome development and serves as a useful and early complement to the more detailed release due out in early March.

"While some volatility is likely between this flash release and the detailed release in March, it is broadly in line with what my Department projected for 2022 at Budget time and reflects the continued strength of the multinational sector in Ireland last year," Minister McGrath said.

"Other metrics mirror this growth, such as very robust goods exports and strong corporation tax receipts last year," he added.

Minister McGrath also said that internationally, incoming data suggest that the downturn may not be as severe as previously assumed.

"The IMF signalled last week that it will make a modest upward revision to its growth forecasts for this year, which are due out tomorrow, owing to reduced price pressures, increased fiscal supports and the re-opening of the Chinese economy following its zero-Covid policy," he stated.

He also said that while set to remain relatively high over 2023, inflation in Ireland appears to have peaked sooner than had been expected, driven by an easing in energy prices, some of which has already been reflected at the pump.

"I am encouraged that despite numerous headwinds, our labour market continues to perform strongly with close to record-low unemployment rate of just 4.3% in December," he added.