Minister for Finance Michael Noonan wants Ireland to shop its way out of the recession and spend, spend, spend.

Noonan has appealed to the Irish nation to return to normal shopping habits in a bid to kick-start the economic recovery.

New figures show the strongest growth in three years for Ireland’s export business but domestic stats are still down.

That’s why Noonan has launched an appeal to those holding almost $200billion on deposit in savings accounts in Ireland to start spending again.

“What we really need is for people to go into the shops and start buying again,’’ said Noonan in a clear message to those with cash to spare.

“Consumer and tourist spending are a means to help Ireland escape the current economic crisis and we need to harness that.

“If that starts, with tourists visiting our shores stimulating the retail side, and is followed by our own ordinary citizens going about their shopping and beginning to spend again, then we begin to lift out of the crisis.”

Government measures to encourage consumer spending, including a drop in the VAT rate, are already underway but consumer spending actually dropped four per cent in the first quarter of 2011.

“It is too early to say whether or not these measures have worked,” added Minister Noonan.

His comments followed the publication of new figures which suggest the Irish economy is turning the corner after the collapse of the Celtic Tiger.

Growth is now at its strongest since 2007 on the back of an increase in exports with new figures from the government’s Central Statistics Office pointing to an expansion in the Irish economy in 2010.

Growth was up 1.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year with almost half of people more optimistic about the prospect of economic recovery under the new Government according to a new Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll.

The findings of the opinion poll show 47 per cent are more optimistic about recovery, 28 per cent feel the same and 23 per cent are less optimistic.