DUBLIN, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), Ireland's largest employers organization, downgraded its growth forecast for the country's economy to 0.8 percent in 2012 from its previous estimate of 1 percent, citing poor trading conditions around Europe as the reason.
In its new Quarterly Economic Outlook, IBEC also revised downward growth forecasts for next year as a result of "anemic economic growth in the rest of Europe and heightened consumer worries at home."
It now expected GDP growth of 1.8 percent in 2013 (previously 2.3 percent), saying that strong growth "remains elusive."
The IBEC represents the interests of business in Ireland and provides a wide range of direct services to its 7,500 members.
The IBEC warned that some proposals emanating from the Irish government were at odds with its efforts to support job creation, and would damage growth and undermine the recovery in the face of tough trading conditions and depressed domestic demand.
Any move to introduce a statutory sick pay scheme or hike PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) would cost thousands of jobs and would fly in the face of the government's stated ambition to make Ireland the best small country in the world to do business, it said.
On Ireland's 2013 budget, the IBEC urged the Irish government to focus on cutting public expenditure and raising revenue in a way that is least damaging to growth.
"The most damaging thing the government could do in Budget 2013 would be to add to the cost of employment," said IBEC Chief Economist Fergal O'Brien.
The IBEC said the 2013 budget must also focus on supporting activity in the domestic economy, adding that Ireland's consumer spending will drop by a further 2 percent this year and domestic demand remain fragile.
"Austerity alone is not the answer. We need the government to deliver the conditions for economic growth. We need an ambitious growth strategy that supports investment, addresses the weakness in the domestic economy and rebuilds confidence," O'Brien said.