Ireland could help spearhead Europe's recovery as it shows promise of standing on its own two feet again, according to a leading political and business newspaper.
The Economist says Ireland deserves a helping hand in leaving the bail-out programme, and, unlike the struggling countries of southern Europe, it has a good story to tell.
The authoritative weekly, which predicted the housing collapse, has highlighted ways in which Ireland is bucking the European economic trend, but also warns that a lot is still at risk to global influences.
"Last year it [Ireland] dodged the eurozone's wretched recession. Unit labour costs have come down sharply, making the economy more competitive," said the report.
"If things go well in 2013, Ireland might be able to leave its programme without any further assistance."
A surge in VAT, stamp duty and taxes paid by businesses has put government finances well ahead of EU/IMF targets for 2012, meaning State finances are in better shape than expected when the Budget was announced on December 5.
The unexpected increase in government income means the gap between what the State spent and what it took in last year is reckoned to have dropped to less than 8pc.
The deficit for 2012 is now likely to come in at 7.9pc or even 7.8pc, said Finance Minister Michael Noonan, down from an overspend of 29pc in 2010.