Ireland is expected to be a net contributor to the EU budget for some time to come thanks to our relative economic strength and the lingering impact of Brexit, according to Ireland's member on the EU Court of Auditors.

Tony Murphy also suggested that the impact of the profits of US multinationals on Ireland's economic performance has also influenced the size of Ireland's net contribution to the EU budget.

Last year, Ireland paid €229 million into the EU budget more than it received, an amount which represents 0.08% of Ireland's gross national income (GNI).

Mr Murphy, Ireland's representative on the court since 2017, said that with the loss of the UK's annual contribution, Ireland's net contribution was likely to increase further.

The higher a member state's GNI, the bigger the contribution is to the EU budget.

"[Ireland's] gross national income was €241 billion in 2017 and €267 billion in 2019.  So, it's increasing and the likelihood is it will increase.  If we take the UK contribution out that means everybody's contribution will increase."

According to the Court of Auditors annual report, the EU's overall budget in 2019 was €164 billion, of which Ireland contributed €2.3 billion.

The majority of Ireland's contribution came from the state coffers, while customs duties worth €380 million on third country goods entering Ireland, as well as third country VAT contributions worth €275 million made up the rest.

It is understood that the size of Ireland's net contribution to the EU has edged upwards since 2016 thanks in part to the presence on Ireland's books of profits registered by US multinationals.

This relates to the fiscal anomaly in 2015, when Ireland's GDP figures soared from 7.8% to 26% after a number of US multinationals reclassified their assets by redomiciling to Ireland in order to cut their tax bill.

Following that phenomenon, which the renowned economist Paul Krugman called "Leprechaun economics", the Central Statistics Office (CSO) developed a new indicator known as Modified Gross National Income - also referred to as GNI* - which stripped out the profits associated with "redomiciled" corporations in order to give a more realistic reflection of the size of the Irish economy.

However, it has emerged that when calculating Ireland's net contribution to the EU budget, the EU bases its calculations not on Modified GNI, but the standard GNI approach as applied to all member states by the EU's statistics agency Eurostat.

Figures compiled by the CSO show that in 2016, Ireland's Modified GNI was €174.7 billion, but the standard GNI was the higher figure of €220.7 billion.

In other words, the higher figure retains the impact of multinational profits and intellectual property.

The same effect is seen in the years 2017 to 2019, according to the figures.

In 2017, the Modified GNI was €186.2 billion while the standard GNI was €239.2 billion; the following year the Modified GNI stood at €198.7 billion, while the standard GNI indicator stood at €257.5 billion.

In 2019, Modified GNI was €213.7 billion, while the standard GNI stood at €275.5 billion.

Because of the higher GNI figure, the knock-on effect is a higher net contribution to the EU budget.

Ireland's member on the Court of Auditors acknowledged the impact of multinational profits being booked in Ireland on the question of the country's net contribution to the EU budget.

"That is true, there was an impact in terms of 'Leprechaun economics'. The GNI which was used as a basis for the [net] contribution would have included those things you're referring to," he said by video link from Luxembourg.

Mr Murphy added: "The GNI is calculated by Eurostat based on statistical rules and guidelines which are in place. So the budget is calculated on that basis. Whether there are anomalies within that is another issue. We're just following a system."