Ireland

Introduction Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600-150 B.C. Invasions by Norsemen that began in the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian BORU defeated the Danes in 1014. English invasions began in the 12th century and set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by fierce rebellions and harsh repressions. A failed 1916 Easter Monday Rebellion touched off several years of guerrilla warfare that in 1921 resulted in independence from the UK for 26 southern counties; six northern (Ulster) counties remained part of the UK. In 1948 Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth; it joined the European Community in 1973. Irish governments have sought the peaceful unification of Ireland and have cooperated with Britain against terrorist groups. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland is being implemented with some difficulties. In 2006, the Irish and British governments developed and began to implement the St. Andrews Agreement, building on the Good Friday Agreement approved in 1998.
History

Ireland is the successor-state to the Dominion called the Irish Free State. That Dominion came into being when all of the island of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 6 December 1922. However, the following day the Parliament of Northern Ireland exercised its right under the Anglo-Irish Treaty to opt back into the United Kingdom.[5] This action, known as the Partition of Ireland, followed four attempts to introduce devolved autonomous government over the whole island of Ireland (in 1886, 1893, 1914 and 1920). The Irish Free State was abolished when Ireland was formally established on 29 December 1937, the day its constitution came into force.

Irish independence in 1922 was preceded by the Easter Rising of 1916, when Irish volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army took over sites in Dublin and Galway under terms expressed in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The seven signatories of this proclamation, Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Thomas Clarke, Sean MacDiarmada, Joseph Plunkett, Eamonn Ceannt and James Connolly, were executed, along with nine others, and thousands were interned precipitating the Irish War of Independence.

Early background

From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801 until 6 December 1922, Ireland had been part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine from 1845 to 1849 the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30 percent. One million Irish died of starvation and another 1.5 million emigrated,[6] which set the pattern of emigration for the century to come and would result in a constant decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, but particularly from 1880 under Charles Stewart Parnell, the Irish Parliamentary Party moved to prominence through widespread agrarian agitation that won improved tenant land reforms and with its attempts to win two Home Rule Bills, which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy within the United Kingdom. These nevertheless led to the “grass-roots” control of national affairs under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898 previously in the hands of landlord dominated grand juries.

Home Rule statute

Home Rule seemed certain in 1911 when the House of Lords lost their veto, and John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act 1914. The Unionist movement, however, had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing that they would face discrimination and lose economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics were to achieve real political power. Though Irish unionism existed throughout the whole of Ireland, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century unionism was particularly strong in parts of Ulster, where industrialisation was more common in contrast to the more agrarian rest of the island. (Any tariff barriers would, it was feared, most heavily hit that region.) In addition, the Protestant population was more strongly located in Ulster, with unionist majorities existing in about four counties.

Mounting resistance

Under the leadership of the Dublin-born Sir Edward Carson of the Irish Unionist Party and the northerner Sir James Craig of the Ulster Unionist Party unionists became strongly militant in order to oppose the Coercion of Ulster. In 1914, to avoid rebellion with Ulster, the British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, with agreement of the Irish Party leadership, amended a clause into the bill providing for home rule for 26 of the 32 counties, with an as of yet undecided new set of measures to be introduced for the area to be temporarily excluded. Though it received the Royal Assent and was placed on the statute books, the Third Home Rule Act 1914's implementation was suspended until after the Great War. (The war at that stage was expected to be ended by 1915, not the four years it did ultimately last.) For the prior reasons of ensuring the implementation of the Act at the end of the war, Redmond and his Irish National Volunteers supported the Allied cause, and 175,000 joined Irish regiments of the 10th (Irish), 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) divisions of the New British Army.

In January 1919, after the December 1918 general election, 73 of Ireland's 106 MPs elected were Sinn Féin members who refused to take their seats in the British House of Commons. Instead, they set up an Irish parliament called Dáil Éireann. This Dáil in January 1919 issued a Declaration of Independence and proclaimed an Irish Republic. The Declaration was mainly a restatement of the 1916 Proclamation with the additional provision that Ireland was no longer a part of the United Kingdom. The new Irish Republic was recognised internationally only by the Russian Republic. The Republic's Aireacht (ministry) sent a delegation under Ceann Comhairle Seán T. O'Kelly to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, but it was not admitted.

After the bitterly fought War of Independence, representatives of the British government and the Irish treaty delegates, led by Arthur Griffith, Robert Barton and Michael Collins negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty in London from 11 October – 6 December 1921. The Irish delegates set up headquarters at Hans Place in Knightsbridge and it was here in private discussions that the decision was taken at 11.15am on 5 December to recommend the Treaty to Dáil Éireann. Under the Treaty the British agreed to the establishment of an independent Irish State whereby the Irish Free State (in the Irish language Saorstát Éireann) with dominion status was created. Dáil Éireann narrowly ratified the treaty.History of Ireland
series

The Treaty was not entirely satisfactory to either side. It gave more concessions to the Irish than the British had intended to give but did not go far enough to satisfy republican aspirations. The new Irish Free State was in theory to cover the entire island, subject to the proviso that six counties in the north-east, termed "Northern Ireland" (which had been created as one of the two separate Home Rule regions under the Government of Ireland Act 1920) could opt out and choose to remain part of the United Kingdom, which they duly did. The remaining twenty-six counties (originally "Southern Ireland" under the Act) became the Irish Free State, a constitutional monarchy over which the British monarch reigned (from 1927 with the title King of Ireland). It had a Governor-General, a bicameral parliament, a cabinet called the "Executive Council" and a prime minister called the President of the Executive Council.

Permeating partition

The Irish Civil War was the direct consequence of the creation of the Irish Free State. Anti-Treaty forces, led by Éamon de Valera, objected to the fact that acceptance of the Treaty abolished the Irish Republic of 1919 to which they had sworn loyalty, arguing in the face of public support for the settlement that the "people have no right to do wrong". They objected most to the fact that the state would remain part of the British Commonwealth and that Teachtaí Dála would have to swear an oath of fidelity to King George V and his successors. Pro-Treaty forces, led by Michael Collins, argued that the Treaty gave "not the ultimate freedom that all nations aspire to and develop, but the freedom to achieve it".

At the start of the war, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) split into two opposing camps: a pro-treaty IRA and an anti-treaty IRA. The pro-Treaty IRA became part of the new Irish Army. However, through the lack of an effective command structure in the anti-Treaty IRA, and their defensive tactics throughout the war, Collins and his pro-treaty forces were able to build up an army with many tens of thousands of WWI veterans from the 1922 disbanded Irish regiments of the British Army, capable of overwhelming the anti-Treatyists. British supplies of artillery, aircraft, machine-guns and ammunition boosted pro-treaty forces, and the threat of a return of Crown forces to the Free State removed any doubts about the necessity of enforcing the treaty. The lack of public support for the anti-treaty forces (often called the Irregulars) and the determination of the government to overcome the Irregulars contributed significantly to their defeat.

The Free State Army suffered 800 fatalities and perhaps as many as 4,000 people were killed altogether.[unreliable source?] The destruction caused by the war caused considerable economic damage to the Free State in the earliest days of its existence, and Northern Ireland's Unionists became hardened in distancing themselves from the Free State

New Constitution

On 29 December 1937, a new constitution, the Constitution of Ireland, came into force. It replaced the Irish Free State by a new state called simply "Ireland". Though this state's constitutional structures provided for a President of Ireland instead of a king, it was not technically a republic; the principal key role possessed by a head of state, that of symbolically representing Ireland internationally remained vested, in statute law, in the King as an organ of the Irish government. The Irish government had also taken steps to formally abolish the Office of Governor-General some months before the new Constitution came into force.

Ireland remained neutral during World War II, a period it described as The Emergency.

On 18 April 1949, the Republic of Ireland Act came into force. Under that Act, Ireland declared that it was a republic and delegated the functions previously exercised by the King acting on the behalf of the Irish government to the President of Ireland instead.

The Irish state had remained a member of the then-British Commonwealth after independence until the declaration of a republic on 18 April 1949. Under the Commonwealth rules at the time, a declaration of a republic automatically terminated membership of the Commonweatlh. Ireland therefore immediately ceased to be a member and did not subsequently reapply for membership when the Commonwealth later changed its rules to allow republics to join the Commonwealth.

Ireland joined the United Nations in 1955 and the European Community (now the European Union) in 1973. Irish governments have sought the peaceful reunification of Ireland and have usually cooperated with the British government in the violent conflict involving many paramilitaries and the British Army in Northern Ireland known as "The Troubles". A peace settlement for Northern Ireland, the Belfast Agreement, was approved in 1998 in referendums north and south of the border. As part of the peace settlement, Ireland dropped its territorial claim to Northern Ireland. The peace settlement is currently being implemented.

Geography Location: Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain
Geographic coordinates: 53 00 N, 8 00 W
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 70,280 sq km
land: 68,890 sq km
water: 1,390 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries: total: 360 km
border countries: UK 360 km
Coastline: 1,448 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time
Terrain: mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m
Natural resources: natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite
Land use: arable land: 16.82%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 83.15% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: 46.8 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 1.18 cu km/yr (23%/77%/0%)
per capita: 284 cu m/yr (1994)
Natural hazards: NA
Environment - current issues: water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff
Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note: strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 100 km of Dublin
Politics

Ireland is a republic, with a parliamentary system of government. The President of Ireland, who serves as head of state, is elected for a seven-year term and can be re-elected only once. The president is largely a figurehead but can still carry out certain constitutional powers and functions, aided by the Council of State, an advisory body. The Taoiseach (prime minister), is appointed by the president on the nomination of parliament. The Taoiseach is normally the leader of the political party which wins the most seats in the national elections. It has become normal in the Republic for coalitions to form a government, and there has not been a single-party government since 1989.

The bicameral parliament, the Oireachtas, consists of the President of Ireland, a Senate, Seanad Éireann, being the upper House, and a House of Representatives, Dáil Éireann, being the lower House.[9] The Seanad is composed of sixty members; eleven nominated by the Taoiseach, six elected by two universities, and 43 elected by public representatives from panels of candidates established on a vocational basis. The Dáil has 166 members, Teachtaí Dála, elected to represent multi-seat constituencies under the system of proportional representation by means of the Single Transferable Vote. Under the constitution, parliamentary elections must be held at least every seven years, though a lower limit may be set by statute law. The current statutory maximum term is five years.

The Government is constitutionally limited to fifteen members. No more than two members of the Government can be selected from the Senate, and the Taoiseach, Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) and Minister for Finance must be members of the Dáil. The current government consists of a coalition of three parties; Fianna Fáil under Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, the Green Party under new leader John Gormley and the Progressive Democrats under Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney. The last scheduled general election to the Dáil took place on 24 May 2007, after it was called by the Taoiseach on 29th April.

The main opposition in the current Dáil consists of Fine Gael under Enda Kenny, The Labour Party under Eamon Gilmore and Sinn Féin. A number of independent deputies also sit in Dáil Éireann though less in number than before the 2007 election.

Ireland joined the European Union in 1973 but has chosen to remain outside the Schengen Treaty. Citizens of the UK can freely enter Ireland without a passport thanks to the Common Travel Area, but some form of identification is required at airports and seaports.

People Population: 4,109,086 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.8% (male 442,664/female 413,556)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 1,387,803/female 1,385,355)
65 years and over: 11.7% (male 212,782/female 266,926) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 34.3 years
male: 33.5 years
female: 35.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.143% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 14.4 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 7.79 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 4.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.002 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.797 male(s)/female
total population: 0.989 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 5.22 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.72 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.69 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.9 years
male: 75.27 years
female: 80.7 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.86 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 2,800 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)
adjective: Irish
Ethnic groups: Celtic, English
Religions: Roman Catholic 88.4%, Church of Ireland 3%, other Christian 1.6%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2%, none 3.5% (2002 census)
Languages: English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Ireland
local long form: none
local short form: Eire
Government type: republic, parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Dublin
geographic coordinates: 53 19 N, 6 14 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 26 counties; Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow
note: Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan are part of Ulster Province
Independence: 6 December 1921 (from UK by treaty)
National holiday: Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March
Constitution: adopted 1 July 1937 by plebiscite; effective 29 December 1937
Legal system: based on English common law, substantially modified by indigenous concepts; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Mary MCALEESE (since 11 November 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Bertie AHERN (since 26 June 1997)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with previous nomination by the prime minister and approval of the House of Representatives
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 31 October 1997 (next scheduled for October 2011); note - Mary MCALEESE appointed to a second term when no other candidate qualified for the 2004 presidential election; prime minister (taoiseach) nominated by the House of Representatives and appointed by the president
election results: Mary MCALEESE elected president; percent of vote - Mary MCALEESE 44.8%, Mary BANOTTI 29.6%
note: government coalition - Fianna Fail, the Green Party, the Progressive Democrats, and independent members of Parliament
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Oireachtas consists of the Senate or Seanad Eireann (60 seats; 49 members elected by the universities and from candidates put forward by five vocational panels, 11 are nominated by the prime minister; to serve five-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Dail Eireann (166 seats; members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held NA July 2007 (next to be held by July 2012); House of Representatives - last held 24 May 2007 (next to be held by May 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Fianna Fail 28, Fine Gael 14, Labor Party 6, Progressive Democrats 2, Green Party 2, Sein Fein 1, independents 7; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Fianna Fail 41.6%, Fine Gael 27.3%, Labor Party 10.1%, Sinn Fein 6.9%, Green Party 4.7%, Progressive Democrats 2.7%, other 6.7%; seats by party - Fianna Fail 78, Fine Gael 51, Labor Party 20, Sinn Fein 4, Green Party 6, Progressive Democrats 2, other 5
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet)
Political parties and leaders: Fianna Fail [Bertie AHERN]; Fine Gael [Enda KENNY]; Green Party [John GORMLEY]; Labor Party [Eamon GILMORE]; Progressive Democrats [Mary HARNEY, acting leader]; Sinn Fein [Gerry ADAMS]; Socialist Party [Joe HIGGINS]; The Workers' Party [Sean GARLAND]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ADB (nonregional members), Australia Group, BIS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (observer), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Michael COLLINS
chancery: 2234 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3939
FAX: [1] (202) 232-5993
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Thomas C. FOLEY
embassy: 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [353] (1) 668-8777
FAX: [353] (1) 668-9946
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and orange; similar to the flag of Cote d'Ivoire, which is shorter and has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green; also similar to the flag of Italy, which is shorter and has colors of green (hoist side), white, and red
Culture

The island of Ireland has produced the Book of Kells, and writers such as George Berkeley, Sheridan le Fanu, Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, Samuel Beckett, Brian O'Nolan, who published as Flann O'Brien, John Millington Synge, Seán O'Casey, Seamus Heaney, Bram Stoker, Elizabeth Bowen, Kate O'Brien, Seán Ó Faoláin, Frank O'Connor, William Trevor and others. Shaw, Yeats, Beckett and Heaney are Nobel Literature laureates. Other prominent writers include John Banville, Roddy Doyle, Pádraic Ó Conaire, Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Séamus Ó Grianna, Dermot Bolger, Maeve Binchy, Frank McCourt, Edna O'Brien, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill,Paul Muldoon, Thomas McCarthy, Joseph O'Connor, Eoin Colfer, John McGahern and Colm Tóibín.

Prominent Irish artists include Nathaniel Hone, James Arthur O'Connor, Roderick O'Conor, Jack Yeats, William Orpen, Mainie Jellett, Louis le Brocquy, Anne Madden, Robert Ballagh, James Coleman, Dorothy Cross and John Gerrard.

Ireland is known for its Irish traditional music, but has produced many other internationally influential artists in other musical genres, such as U2, Thin Lizzy, The Pogues, the alternative rock group The Cranberries, Blues guitarist Rory Gallagher, folk singer Christy Moore, Celtic Woman, The Chieftains and singer Sinéad O'Connor.

In classical music, the island of Ireland was also the birthplace of the notable composers Turlough O'Carolan, John Field (inventor of the Nocturne), Gerald Barry, Michael William Balfe, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and Charles Wood.

Robert Boyle was a seventeenth-century physicist and discovered Boyle's Law. Ernest Walton of Trinity College Dublin shared the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics for "splitting the atom". William Rowan Hamilton was a significant mathematician. The Irish philosopher and theologian Eriugena, was considered one of the leading intellectuals of his era.

Economy Economy - overview: Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging 6% in 1995-2007. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services. Although the exports sector, dominated by foreign multinationals, remains a key component of Ireland's economy, construction has most recently fueled economic growth along with strong consumer spending and business investment. Property prices have risen more rapidly in Ireland in the decade up to 2006 than in any other developed world economy. Per capita GDP is 40% above that of the four big European economies and the second highest in the EU behind Luxembourg, and in 2007 surpassed that of the United States. The Irish Government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb price and wage inflation, invest in infrastructure, increase labor force skills, and promote foreign investment. A slowdown in the property market, more intense global competition, and increased costs, however, have compelled government economists to lower Ireland's growth forecast slightly for 2008. Ireland joined in circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU nations.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $187.5 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $253.3 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.3% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $45,600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5%
industry: 46%
services: 49% (2002 est.)
Labor force: 2.21 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 6%
industry: 27%
services: 67% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate: 5% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 7% (2005 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 27.2% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 32 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.7% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 25.4% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $93.85 billion
expenditures: $91.07 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 21.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef, dairy products
Industries: steel, lead, zinc, silver, aluminum, barite, and gypsum mining processing; food products, brewing, textiles, clothing; chemicals, pharmaceuticals; machinery, rail transportation equipment, passenger and commercial vehicles, ship construction and refurbishment; glass and crystal; software, tourism
Industrial production growth rate: 5% (2006 est.)
Electricity - production: 24.13 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 95.9%
hydro: 2.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 1.7% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 24.09 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 1 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 2.045 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 192,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 23,360 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 204,400 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 546.7 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 3.895 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 3.348 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 9.505 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$12.6 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $124.8 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products
Exports - partners: US 18.7%, UK 17.9%, Belgium 14.4%, Germany 7.8%, France 5.8%, Italy 4.2% (2006)
Imports: $90.35 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing
Imports - partners: UK 37.5%, US 11.5%, Germany 9.6%, Netherlands 4.6% (2006)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $719 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $831.9 million (2006 est.)
Debt - external: $1.841 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $179 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $125.2 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $114.1 billion (2005)
Currency (code): euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code: EUR
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 2.097 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 4.69 million (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern digital system using cable and microwave radio relay
domestic: microwave radio relay
international: country code - 353; landing point for the Hibernia-Atlantic submarine cable with links to the US, Canada, and UK; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 9, FM 106, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 2.55 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 4 (many repeaters) (2001)
Televisions: 1.82 million (2001)
Internet country code: .ie
Internet hosts: 429,487 (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 22 (2000)
Internet users: 1.437 million (2006)
Transportation Airports: 34 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 15
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 5 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 16 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 1,855 km (2007)
Railways: total: 3,237 km
broad gauge: 1,872 km 1.600-m gauge (37 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,365 km 0.914-m gauge (operated by the Irish Peat Board to transport peat to power stations and briquetting plants) (2006)
Roadways: total: 96,602 km
paved: 96,602 km (includes 200 km of expressways) (2003)
Waterways: 956 km (pleasure craft only) (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 27 ships (1000 GRT or over) 116,091 GRT/161,808 DWT
by type: cargo 23, chemical tanker 2, container 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 3 (Spain 1, US 2)
registered in other countries: 18 (Bahamas 2, Bermuda 1, Bulgaria 1, Cyprus 1, Germany 1, Isle of Man 1, Netherlands 9, Panama 1, UK 1, unknown 1) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Cork, Dublin, Shannon Foynes
Military Military branches: Irish Defense Forces (Oglaigh na h-Eireann): Army (includes Naval Service and Air Corps) (2006)
Military service age and obligation: 17 years of age for voluntary military service; enlistees under the age of 17 can be recruited for specialist positions (2001)
Manpower available for military service: males age 17-49: 977,092
females age 17-49: 978,465 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 17-49: 814,768
females age 17-49: 813,981 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 29,327
females age 17-49: 28,139 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 0.9% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: Ireland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for and consumer of hashish from North Africa to the UK and Netherlands and of European-produced synthetic drugs; increasing consumption of South American cocaine; minor transshipment point for heroin and cocaine destined for Western Europe; despite recent legislation, narcotics-related money laundering - using bureaux de change, trusts, and shell companies involving the offshore financial community - remains a concern