Technically better, but...

But the Central Statistics Office has urged caution when it comes to any calling an official end to the recession.

Gross Domestic Product grew slightly during the third quarter of this year, up 0.3 percent from July to September, according to the latest Quarterly National Accounts.

On an annual basis, GDP fell by 7.4 percent in the year to the end of October, compared to a 7.9 percent decline in the preceding quarter.

Technically, given that the definition of recession is two quarters in a row of falling GDP, this means that Ireland has now exited recession. But the assistant director general of the CSO, Bill Keating, declined to call an official end to the recession pointing out that much of the rise in GDP was attributed to profits from multinationals based in Ireland.

Whether Ireland was out of recession or not was "a matter of semantics," said Keating.

"The general picture shows that on a seasonally adjusted basis there is a leveling off in GDP but Gross National Product continues to decline, albeit at a slower pace than it has in previous quarters. Contributing to the GDP increase in a fairly major way was growth in the multinational sector," Keating said.

GNP is a broader assessment of an economy than GDP with added factors such as tourism revenue and overseas earnings factored in.

GDP is the international method of calculating economic decline but in Ireland's case, the Economic and Social Research Institute and other bodies prefer to focus on GNP - a measure which also strips out multinational profits, much of which is usual taken out of the country.

According to the CSO, profits declared in Ireland by foreign-owned enterprises increased by

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