DUBLIN, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The Irish service sector continued to fall sharply in May compared with the same period last year, but at a slower pace, according to figures released by the country's Central Statistics Office (CSO) on Friday.
In May, the country's service sector decreased by 20.2 percent over a year ago, but the falling rate slowed down compared with the 22.4-percent decrease recorded in the previous month.
April was the hardest-hit month for the Irish service sector during the COVID-19 crisis as the month was under a complete lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
Ireland did not lock down all the non-essential businesses until the end of March and started lifting the restrictions in mid-May.
As more businesses in the Irish service sector reopened in mid-May, the service sector saw a 2.6-percent growth over April.
In May, the sectors with the largest monthly increases were wholesale and retail, which increased by 7.7 percent, followed by accommodation and food service activities (up 4.5 percent) and other service activities (up 4.4 percent).
The transportation and storage sector also witnessed a monthly growth of 3.9 percent in May as more economic activities restarted in the country following the easing of the restrictions in the month.
The CSO figures also showed that information and communication was the only sector which witnessed a year-on-year increase of 1.6 percent in May as the government's stay-at-home requirement has resulted in a spike in internet use.
Statistics from the CSO show that all the businesses in the service sector have reported increases in online purchases since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Starting from June 29, all the hotels, restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars serving food in Ireland are permitted to reopen and these alone will give a further push to the growth of the country's service sector.