Irish economy recovers between lockdowns but further losses loom – dpa international


Only “essential” retailersl, such as this supermarket in County Mayo, were permitted to trade during Irelands second coronavirus-related lockdown (SImon Roughneen)

DUBLIN — Ireland’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 11.1 per cent during the third quarter, according to official estimates published Friday, suggesting the country’s economy saw some temporary respite between two separate lockdown periods.

Jennifer Banim of the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the “easing of Covid-19 related restrictions led to growth across almost all sectors of the economy in quarter 3.”

The CSO data show Ireland’s economy rebounding after GDP contracted by around 6 per cent during the second quarter, which coincided with the country’s first coronavirus lockdown.

Restaurants and pubs that serve meals reopened on Friday, after the end of a six-week second lockdown. Non-essential retail reopened earlier this week.

Ireland’s daily coronavirus case numbers, which topped the 1,200-mark in October, had dropped to below 200 by Thursday.

The second pandemic wave was far less deadly than the first, according to official data released Friday. The average mortality rate in November was eight people per 1,000 confirmed cases, down from a peak of 74 per 1,000 in April, the CSO reported. Hospitalisations were 58 per 1000 cases in November, down from 192 in March.

But while business activity is expected to pick up ahead of Christmas, the second lockdown has likely already reversed some of the recent recovery. Most retail outlets and all restaurants were forced to close, further damaging domestic commerce.

The CSO reported Friday that Ireland’s gross national product, a measurement officials use to control for the country’s huge multinational sector, contracted by 1.9 per cent in the third quarter.

Foreign tech and medical brands employ tens of thousands of people in Ireland, with Amazon and Microsoft among those announcing new investments recently.

So-called Big Pharma and Big Tech have enjoyed worldwide sales increases during the pandemic and stay-home lockdowns, which spurred demand for pharmaceuticals, protective equipment, computers and software.

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