DUBLIN - Ireland's economy grew by a barely believable 26.3 percent last year, according to official data published on Tuesday which was largely skewed by companies relocating to Ireland for tax purposes.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the country's gross domestic product had increased "significantly" in 2015 as it drastically upgraded a previous estimate of 7.8 percent growth.

The boost in gross domestic product comes chiefly from companies moving to Ireland which shift their capital stocks onto the country's balance sheet.

Ireland has a corporate tax rate of just 12.5 percent -- a point of bitter contention with other EU member states -- and hosts the European headquarters of US tech giants including Google and Facebook.

The economy has in any case performed well in recent years. Ireland has recovered from the global financial crisis and the economy was already by far the fastest growing in the eurozone.

The CSO said the result was largely due to "an increase in the number of new aircraft imports into Ireland for international leasing activities" and the "reclassifications of entire balance sheets".

Jack Allen from Capital Economics consultancy said: "Looking through the massive distortions in the Irish GDP data, today's Q1 release suggests that the economy has continued to perform well".

He pointed to strong 2.1 percent growth in household consumption in the first quarter, saying this was "immune" from the statistical distortions.

Allen said it was also "possible" the Irish economy could also stand to benefit if companies relocate from neighbouring Britain as it withdraws from the European Union.