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Ireland Is Still Good Place to Invest: Prime Minister

Ireland is still a good place to invest and can compete globally despite the country's recent rejection of the Lisbon Treaty and stalling economic growth, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen told CNBC.

"People locate to Ireland on the basis of being able to compete globally and that's a responsibility we have to discharge in any event," Cowen told CNBC's Margaret Brennan Thursday.

There's been no indication of a slowdown of money pouring into Ireland, Cowen insisted, stating that the pipeline is still strong as far as the Industrial Development Authority is concerned, the agency charged with drumming up inward investment.

Growth in the once-booming Irish economy is set to slow this year, as a slump in the housing market and concerns over the banking sector drag.

"We're looking at growth of a half to one percent this year," Cowen said, adding the correction in the domestic construction market is offsetting growth in the rest of the economy. "In relation to the housing market we think we're going to see this year and into next year the correction continue."

Improvement is expected in 2010, Cowen said.

He is set to meet EU and French president Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday to discuss the 'no' vote, which derailed the ratification process of the key document designed to ease decision-making in the 27-nation bloc. Sarkozy will "gauge the national mood, to understand what occurred," Cowen said.

"The referendum result in my point of view was a disappointment, but I have to respect that decision," Cowen said, hinting at the disappointment felt by the majority of EU member, who had already passed the paper.

Britain's parliament formally ratified the treaty on Thursday.

- Written by CNBC.com

Contact Europe: Economy

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