Ireland's Central Bank on Friday said it expected the Irish economy to grow by 0.8 percent this year, down from an earlier forecast of 0.9 percent
Irish gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 1.0 in 2010 after shrinking by a record 7.6 percent in 2009.
"The likely outturn for growth in the Irish economy this year is subject to more uncertainty than usual," the Bank said in its quarterly bulletin against a backdrop of rising debt tensions for the eurozone.
"There seems to be no reason, however, at this point, to significantly alter the Bank's previous projections for the main economic aggregates.
"As a result, GDP is still expected to grow by about 0.8 percent this year although GNP (gross national product) may decline slightly, perhaps by about 0.3 percent."
GNP is the measure favoured by the Dublin government as it strips out substantial repatriated profits from foreign investment -- thus providing a more accurate barometer of economic performance in Ireland.
The Central Bank said there was likely to be stronger growth in 2012 when it anticipates GDP to expand by about 2.1 percent and GNP by 1.0 percent.
The Bank on Friday added that exports were driving the Irish economy while domestic demand remained weak.
"It will be the end of this year or, more likely, next year before any employment growth starts to emerge," it noted.
Last November, Ireland had to seek an 85 billion-euro rescue package from the EU and the IMF as massive debt and deficit problems left the country on the verge of collapse. Fellow eurozone members Greece and Portugal have also been rescued.