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CSO statistical release, , 11am

Government Finance Statistics - Annual

2013 to 2018 (April 2019 Results)

 General Government and GDP
       GG Balance     GG Gross Debt     GG Net Debt    GDP
End of year€bn% GDP€bn% GDP€bn% GDP€bn

Government surplus of 0.01% of GDP in 2018

Figure 1 General Government Balance, Gross Debt and Net Debt
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For 2018 the government surplus was €0.05 billion (0.01% of GDP), an improvement on the 2017 deficit of €0.83 billion (-0.3% of GDP).  This is the first surplus since 2007.

2018 saw increases in both government revenues (+7.2%) and expenditures (+6.0%) (Table 1).  At the end of 2018 government revenues were €82.0 billion.  The upward trend in tax and social contribution revenue continued with increases of €4.7 billion (+8.4%) in Taxes and €0.7 billion (+5.8%) in Social contributions (Tables 1 and 3).

The main drivers behind the increase in government expenditure in 2018 to €82.0 billion were Compensation of employees/Pay (+7.5%), Social benefits (+2.5%) and Gross fixed capital formation (+21.7%).  Debt service costs, or Interest, continued to decrease in 2018 (-9.9%) (Tables 1 and 4).

Around €365m was spent on interventions to support financial institutions with associated interest costs partly offset by dividend and income.  Investment income fell over the period 2014-2018 as the State reduced its holdings in financial institutions (Table 1).

Government debt falls to 64.8% of GDP in 2018

The general government gross debt (GG Debt) stood at €206.2 billion at the end of 2018 (64.8% of GDP), up from the 2017 figure of €201.4 billion (68.5% of GDP).  However, the increase in GDP in 2018 was the primary driver in the decrease of the debt to GDP ratio as the nominal debt level increased by €4.8 billion in the period (Table 2).

On the assets side of the State’s balance-sheet, financial assets rose by €13.2 billion during 2018. This increase was principally caused by a €15.7 billion rise in Other accounts receivable, with a lesser rise of €4.3 billion in Currency and deposits which was mostly caused by the issuance of new debt in the year. These rises in asset values were offset mainly by a fall of €5.6 billion in Equity and Investment Fund Shares.  This drop was mostly as a result of a loss in value of the State’s investment in Irish banks.  On the liability side of the balance-sheet, Total liabilities at market value grew by €15.9 billion, largely caused by an increase in Other accounts payable of €14.8 billion in the year to end-2018 (Table 6). 

At the end of 2018 general government net debt increased by €1.7 billion to €177.6 billion (55.8% of GDP).  GG Debt increased by €4.8 billion, composed of rises in Debt Securities (€4.1 billion) and Loans (€0.7 billion) (Tables 2 and 7).


Government accounts are compiled in the EU according to the European System of National Accounts 2010 (ESA2010) framework.

This release contains annual Government Finance Statistics (GFS) and are aligned with the April 2019 Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) notification. This release contains the first look at annual 2018 GFS.  Any revisions to previous years reflect updated data sources or changes in methodology - see Background notes.

Tables included in the release show a reconciliation of the Exchequer Balance to the General Government Deficit (Table 8).

The main EDP notification tables for Ireland, details of government guarantees, PPPs and concessions and tables showing the impact of government interventions in the financial sector on government accounts will be published on 23 April, the same day as the Eurostat release of EDP statistics.

As annual GFS are benchmarked to the most recent EDP notification, they may not always be fully aligned with the National Income and Expenditure and related publications such as the Institutional Sector Accounts.

A full description of the concepts and definitions used in the production of these statistics is provided in the Background notes.