Figures show Ireland has fallen back into recession, dealing a blow to those who have cited the country as an example of how austerity can work.

Thursday's report from Ireland's Central Statistics Office showed the country's annual gross domestic product fell 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year from the previous quarter.

GDP figures for the second half of 2012 were also revised downwards to show a 1 percent quarterly fall in the third quarter and a 0.2 percent drop in the fourth. The figures put Ireland back in recession — officially defined as two straight quarters of negative growth.

Ireland was the second euro country, after Greece, to be bailed out following a banking crisis. It has been cutting its budget aggressively for years.