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Introduction - Ireland:
BackgroundCeltic 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 working to implement the St. Andrews Agreement, building on the Good Friday Agreement approved in 1998.
Location - Ireland:
LocationWestern Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain
Geographic coordinates53 00 N, 8 00 W
Map referencesEurope
Areatotal: 70,280 sq km
land: 68,890 sq km
water: 1,390 sq km
Area comparativeslightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundariestotal: 360 km
border countries: UK 360 km
Coastline1,448 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climatetemperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time
Terrainmostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast
Elevation extremeslowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m
Natural resourcesnatural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite
Land usearable land: 16.82%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 83.15% (2005)
Irrigated landNA
Natural hazardsNA
Environment current issueswater pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff
Environment international agreementsparty 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 notestrategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 100 km of Dublin
People - Ireland:
Population4,109,086 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure0-14 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 agetotal: 34.3 years
male: 33.5 years
female: 35.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate1.143% (2007 est.)
Birth rate14.4 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate7.79 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate4.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratioat 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 ratetotal: 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 birthtotal population: 77.9 years
male: 75.27 years
female: 80.7 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate1.86 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Hiv aids adult prevalence rate0.1% (2001 est.)
Hiv aids people living with hiv aids2,800 (2001 est.)
Hiv aids deathsless than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)
adjective: Irish
Ethnic groupsCeltic, English
ReligionsRoman Catholic 88.4%, Church of Ireland 3%, other Christian 1.6%, other 1.5%, unspecified 2%, none 3.5% (2002 census)
LanguagesEnglish (official) is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
Government - Ireland:
Country nameconventional long form: none
conventional short form: Ireland
local long form: none
local short form: Eire
Government typerepublic, parliamentary democracy
Capitalname: 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 divisions26 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
Independence6 December 1921 (from UK by treaty)
National holidaySaint Patricks Day, 17 March
Constitutionadopted 1 July 1937 by plebiscite; effective 29 December 1937
Legal systembased on English common law, substantially modified by indigenous concepts; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief 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 and the Progressive Democrats
Legislative branchbicameral 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 16 and 17 July 2002 (next to be held by July 2007); 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 30, Fine Gael 15, Labor Party 5, Progressive Democrats 4, independents and other 6; 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 branchSupreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet)
Political parties and leadersFianna Fail [Bertie AHERN]; Fine Gael [Enda KENNY]; Green Party [Trevor SARGENT, acting leader]; Labor Party [Pat RABBITTE]; Progressive Democrats [Michael McDOWELL]; Sinn Fein [Gerry ADAMS]; Socialist Party [Joe HIGGINS]; The Workers Party [Sean GARLAND]
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
Diplomatic representation in the uschief of mission: Ambassador Noel FAHEY
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 uschief 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 descriptionthree equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and orange; similar to the flag of Cote dIvoire, 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
Economy - Ireland:
Economy overviewIreland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging 6% in 1995-2006. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services. Industry accounts for 46% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and 29% of the labor force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Irelands growth, the economy has also benefited from a rise in consumer spending, construction, and business investment. Per capita GDP is 40% above that of the four big European economies and the second highest in the EU behind Luxembourg. Over the past decade, the Irish Government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb price and wage inflation, reduce government spending, increase labor force skills, and promote foreign investment. Ireland joined in circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU nations.
Gdp purchasing power parity $180.7 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp official exchange rate $204.4 billion (2006 est.)
Gdp real growth rate6% (2006 est.)
Gdp per capita ppp $44,500 (2006 est.)
Gdp composition by sectoragriculture: 5%
industry: 46%
services: 49% (2002 est.)
Labor force2.12 million (2006 est.)
Labor force by occupationagriculture: 8%
industry: 29%
services: 64% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate4.3% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line10% (1997 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 27.3% (1997)
Distribution of family income gini index35.9 (1996)
Inflation rate consumer prices 3.9% (2006 est.)
Investment gross fixed 28% of GDP (2006 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $74.49 billion
expenditures: $73.05 billion; including capital expenditures of $5.5 billion (2006 est.)
Public debt22.8% of GDP (2006 est.)
Agriculture productsturnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef, dairy products
Industriessteel, 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 rate5% (2006 est.)
Electricity production23.26 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity consumption23.23 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity exports0 kWh (2004)
Electricity imports1.6 billion kWh (2004)
Oil production0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil consumption182,400 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil exports23,360 bbl/day (2004)
Oil imports204,400 bbl/day (2004)
Oil proved reserves0 bbl (1 January 2005)
Natural gas production855 million cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas consumption4.295 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas exports0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas imports3.44 billion cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas proved reserves19.82 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
Current account balance-$9.45 billion (2006 est.)
Exports$119.8 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports commoditiesmachinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products
Exports partnersUS 18.8%, UK 17.4%, Belgium 15.9%, Germany 7.5%, France 5.6%, Italy 4.1% (2006)
Imports$87.36 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports commoditiesdata processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing
Imports partnersUK 37.3%, US 11.6%, Germany 9.5%, Netherlands 4.6% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$842.5 million (August 2006 est.)
Economic aid donorODA, $607 million (2004)
Debt external$1.392 trillion (30 June 2006)
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
Exchange rateseuros per US dollar - 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002)
Communications - Ireland:
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Telephones main lines in use2.097 million (2006)
Telephones mobile cellular4.69 million (2006)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: modern digital system using cable and microwave radio relay
domestic: microwave radio relay
international: country code - 353; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stationsAM 9, FM 106, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations4 (many repeaters) (2001)
Internet country
Internet hosts238,191 (2006)
Internet users1.437 million (2006)
Transportation - Ireland:
Airports36 (2006)
Airports with paved runwaystotal: 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: 3
under 914 m: 6 (2006)
Airports with unpaved runwaystotal: 21
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 17 (2006)
Pipelinesgas 1,728 km (2006)
Railwaystotal: 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)
Roadwaystotal: 96,602 km
paved: 96,602 km (includes 200 km of expressways) (2003)
Waterways956 km (pleasure craft only) (2007)
Merchant marinetotal: 23 ships (1000 GRT or over) 103,589 GRT/145,044 DWT
by type: cargo 19, chemical tanker 2, container 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 4 (Germany 2, US 2)
registered in other countries: 21 (Bahamas 2, Bermuda 1, Cyprus 3, Gibraltar 1, Netherlands 10, Panama 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, UK 1) (2006)
Ports and terminalsCork, Dublin, New Ross, Shannon Foynes, Waterford
Military - Ireland:
Military branchesIrish Defense Forces (Oglaigh na h-Eireann): Army (includes Naval Service and Air Corps) (2006)
Military service age and obligation17 years of age for voluntary military service; enlistees under the age of 17 can be recruited for specialist positions (2001)
Manpower available for military servicemales age 17-49: 977,092
females age 17-49: 978,465 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military servicemales age 17-49: 814,768
females age 17-49: 813,981 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annuallymales age 18-49: 29,327
females age 17-49: 28,139 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures percent of gdp0.9% (2005 est.)
Disputes internationalIreland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmarks claim that the Faroe Islands continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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