Ireland's economy returned to growth in the first quarter of 2024, driven by activity in the technology sector, after contracting for five quarters in a row, latest data showed.

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 1.1 percent from January to March compared to the previous three months, according to preliminary data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The earlier contraction had been largely blamed on a drop in exports, placing the economy in a technical recession.

"In today's release, GDP is estimated to have expanded by 1.1 percent in Q1 2024 in volume terms when compared with Q4 2023," CSO statistician Enda Behan said.

The increase had been "driven by an increase in the multinational dominated sector of information and communication", he said.

Behan highlighted, however, that compared with the same quarter of 2023, GDP was actually estimated to have fallen by 0.8 percent.

The provisional data comes after a report last month said the Irish economy would grow throughout 2024.

"Unlike 2023, we expect all major indicators of economic activity to register positive growth in 2024 and 2025 indicating likely stable growth over the period," said Professor Kieran McQuinn of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).