Form of Government: Republic
Area: 70 273 sq km
Population: 4 857 000 inhab. (estimate 2018)
Density: 69.12 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 55° - 51° N; long. 11° - 6° W
Capital: Dublin/Baile Átha Cliath (capital) 554 554 inhab. (2016); Dublin/Baile Átha Cliath 1 173 179 inhab. (2016), urban agglomeration
Currency: euro (100 cents)
Human development index: 0.938 (rank: 4)
President: Michael Daniel Higgins (LP), elected 29 October 2011, reconfirmed 27 October 2018
Prime Minister: Leo Varadkar (FG), since 14 June 2017
House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann): seats (June 2019 update): FG (Fine Gael: “Tribe of the Gaels”, Christian democratic, nationalist), 50; FF (Fianna Fáil: “Soldiers of Destiny”, populist, nationalist), 45; SF (Sinn Féin: “Ourselves Alone”, Republican, nationalist), 23; LP (Labour Party), 7; others, 33
Internet: www.cso.ie (Central Statistics Office Ireland)
Member of Council of Europe, EBRD, EU, OAS observer, OECD, OSCE, UN, WTO

Ireland

Éire, Ireland, Poblacht na hÉireann, Republic of Ireland
Useful information

International license plate code IRL
International dialling code 00353
Travel vaccinations requirement none
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side left
Internet code .ie

GMT  0
DST  +1
DST duration (start-end) late March-late October

Annual average temperature (°C) Dublin 9.5
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Dublin 4.5/15.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Dublin 6/2
Annual average precipitation (mm) Dublin 775
Days of rainfall (annual average) Dublin 139

Politics and current affairs

Ireland remains uncompromising in the negotiations with the United Kingdom regarding Brexit: the theme of the potential re-establishment of a physical border between Ireland and Ulster was one of the key obstacles to a solution for London’s exit from the EU. The fear is that new checks can create enormous economic difficulties and reignite past nationalist tensions. On 27 October 2018, Michael Higgins was re-elected president with 56% of the votes.

Geography.
Ireland is bordered to the north-east by the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland). To the east lies the Irish Sea, and to the north, south and west the Atlantic Ocean. The low central plains, containing large tracts of water, are often broken up by rounded hills; along the coastline there are isolated hilly areas such as the Kerry Mountains (Carrantuohill, 1038 m) to the south-west, the Wicklow Mountains (Lugnaquillia, 924 m) to the east, and the mountains of Donegal to the north. The main river is the River Shannon, linked to the Irish Sea by a series of canals. There are numerous lakes. The climate is oceanic with abundant rainfall, fog and little sunshine.

Government


Subjected to English rule from the 12th century and colonised from the 17th century onwards, Eire became a “free state” (although still a Dominion of the British Crown) in 1922, following a rebellion led by the IRA (Irish Republican Army), the armed wing of the nationalist movement, Sinn Féin. The six northern counties were, however, left out of the agreement, remaining with the United Kingdom under the name of Northern Ireland, where a resistance movement to British rule developed. In 1949, a Republic was proclaimed and Eire left the Commonwealth. Since the Second World War, the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have alternated in government. From 1993 onwards, Anglo-Irish talks to find a solution to the civil war in Ulster made substantial progress, leading to the 10 April 1998 agreement made in Belfast by British and Irish representatives and by exponents of the Ulster republicans and unionists. As a result of this, on 2 December 1999 Ireland gave up its territorial claims on Ulster.
On the basis of the Constitution of 29 December 1937, the President of the Republic is elected by direct suffrage for seven years. Executive power belongs to the Government, presided by the Prime Minister who is responsible before Parliament. The latter is made up of the House of Representatives (the Dáil Éireann, 158 members elected by direct suffrage) and the Senate (Seanad Éireann, 60 members, 43 of which are chosen by indirect election, six chosen by the universities and eleven appointed by the Prime Minister), renewed every 5 years.


Defence.
The armed forces provide a permanent defence force (made up of an army, navy and air force) and a reserve force. Military service is voluntary.


Justice.
The legal system is based on British Common Law, modified according to local customs.

Defence
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Air force8.2%2015
Army80.8%2015
Justice
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Crimes2 444.2per 100 000 pop.2006
Homicides1.5per 100 000 pop.2017
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Administrative division

Administrative divisions
Cities
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Dublin/Baile Átha Cliath554 554inhab.2016
Cork/Corcaigh125 657inhab.2016
Urban agglomerations
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Dublin/Baile Átha Cliath1 173 179inhab.2016
Cork/Corcaigh208 669inhab.2016
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Population

Population by age and gender (% - 2018)
75+
60-74
45-59
30-44
15-29
0-14
MALEAGEFEMALE

Historically a country of emigration, 90 300 people immigrated to Ireland in 2018. In total, the number of foreigners stands at 593 500. Significant social changes are underway through several referendums: in 2015, there was a vote regarding gay marriage; in 2018, there was another about the right to an abortion; and in 2019, a referendum was held on liberalizing the divorce laws.

Demographic statistics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Birth rate12.62018
Death rate6.32018
Foreigners
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Foreigners, total593 500units2018
Poles122 515units2016
Ethnic groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
White Irish82.2%2016
other white9.5%2016


Religions
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Catholic78.8%2016
nonreligious/atheist9.8%2016


Languages
DESCRIPTION
English (official)
Irish (official)
Population by selected age groups
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
0-14 years21.4%2018
15-29 years18%2018


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Economy


Economic situation.
Economic growth reached 6.8% in 2018, well above the European average, but should slow to around 3.5% in 2019-20. Investment and employment are on the rise. However, given the open nature of the economy, the economic trend remains influenced by multinational corporations with branches in the country, which are perceptible to possible tensions related to Brexit and trade wars.

Economy - General data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)109.82index2016
Balance of trade58 854.1M US$2018
Economy - Employment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Active population2 395 000units2018
Active population, Females45.9%2018
Economy - Unemployment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Unemployment rate5.8%2018
Unemployment rate, Females46%2018
Economy - State budget
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenses77 998.8M LCU2018
Revenues78 048.3M LCU2018
Employment by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture4.8%2018
industry18.7%2018
GDP by economic activity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
agriculture1.4%2018
industry37.8%2018
Financial data
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Currency in circulation19.387BN LCU2018
International reserves5 222.7M US$2018
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Agriculture


Primary sector
Agriculture and livestock.
The main agricultural products are oats, barley, wheat and potatoes. The largest share in terms of income in the sector is provided by livestock farming which contributes significantly to exports.
Fishing.
More than 5000 employees and a fleet of 2100 boats work in the fishing sector.

Land use
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
arable land14.95%2015
forests10.95%2015
Agriculture - products - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley1 505.81000 t2017
cereals, total2 394.6371000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes412.41000 t2017
roots and tubers, total412.41000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cabbages24.61000 t2017
carrots and turnips73.31000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry87.71000 t2017
beans, green1.7281000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
rapeseed41.71000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.0451000 t2017
sugar beet751000 t2017
Agriculture - products - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples21.41000 t2017
fruits, total63.1361000 t2014
Agriculture - products - Others
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mushrooms66.51000 t2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Cereals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
barley180.21000 ha2017
oats24.41000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Roots and tubers
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
potatoes9.21000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Vegetables
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cabbages0.8681000 ha2017
carrots and turnips1.2681000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Pulses
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beans, dry131000 ha2017
beans, green0.2121000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Oilcrops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
rapeseed10.11000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Industrial crops
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
hops0.0441000 ha2017
sugar beet1.311000 ha2017
Agriculture - areas harvested - Fruits
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
apples0.6951000 ha2017
raspberries0.0241000 ha2017
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Forests-Livestock-Fishing

Forestry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
timber3 050 4232017
Livestock - Cattle
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cattle7 363.51000 heads2017
cattle and buffaloes7 363.51000 heads2017
Livestock - Pigs
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
pigs1 556.91000 heads2017
Livestock - Sheep
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
sheep5 197.11000 heads2017
Livestock - Goats
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
goats8.31000 heads2017
Livestock - Equines
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
asses7.5191000 heads2017
asses and mules8.7131000 heads2017
Livestock - Poultry
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
birds17 5711000 heads2017
Livestock - Beekeeping
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
honey0.2541000 t2014
Livestock - Livestock products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
butter166.371000 t2014
cheese191.41000 t2014
Fishing
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
crustaceans and molluscs50 966.9t2017
freshwater fishes0t2017
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Minerals


Secondary sector
Minerals.
Ireland has good supplies of peat and natural gas, although the offshore Kinsale Head gas field is nearing depletion, while the Barryroe oil field will be operational in a few years’ time, assisted by Chinese partners. Lead, zinc and silver are mined at Tynagh, Abbeytown, Ballinalack and Galmoy.
Energy.
The country remains dependent upon energy supplies from abroad (gas pipelines from Scotland). A disputed regasification terminal in Shannon is being planned. A marine wind farm is in operation off the coast of Dublin: the country has the ambitious plan to produce 40% of its energy using renewable resources by 2020.
Industry.
Foreign investment has enabled an effective and rapid modernization of the industry, impacting on over 33% of the GDP.
The electronic and information sectors are very important. Such a high standard of development has been favoured by the creation of technological parks. Electronic centres are located in Dublin and Athlone. The Google and Facebook European headquarters are located in Dublin.
At Whitegate there is an oil refinery. Chemical plants are found in Cork and Dublin. Shipyards are in operation in Galway. Pharmaceutical, mechanical, tobacco manufacturing, distillery and brewery (Guinness) plants are located in the capital. There are other large breweries and distilleries in Cork, Kilkenny and Dundalk.

Mineral resources - Energy minerals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
coal601000 t2012
coal, total601000 t2012
Mineral resources - Metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
lead331000 t2016
zinc1501000 t2016
Mineral resources - Non-metal ores
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
gypsum3001000 t2016
Mineral resources - Rocks
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
limestone1 0001000 t2012
sand and gravel - t7 0001000 t2015
Mineral resources - Precious metals and stones
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
silver4 800kg2015
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Energy

Electric energy - Generated
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal21 188.54M kWh2016
- other renew.6 904M kWh2016
Electric energy - Installed capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
- thermal6 5031000 kW2016
- other renew.2 9131000 kW2016
Electric energy - Total production and capacity
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
total net generation28 526.54M kWh2016
total installed capacity9 9451000 kW2016
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Industry

Industry - Iron and Steel, Metallurgy
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
alumina1 9301000 t2017
lead, secondary171000 t2015
Industry - Machinery and transport equipment
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
mopeds200no.2004
Industry - Electrical and electronics
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
air conditioners577 300no.2004
fridges12 200no.2004
Industry - Petrochemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
petrol564.31000 t2014
Industry - Chemicals
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
ammonia3001000 t2004
fertilizers2 436.21000 t2018
Industry - Textiles
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cotton yarn0.0081000 t2004
Industry - Clothing and footwear
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
footwear288 700pairs2004
Industry - Food and beverages
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
beer of barley8001000 t2014
fish, frozen126.71000 t2018
Industry - Tobacco
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cigarettes6 599.2M units2002
tobacco9 306t2004
Industry - Paper and wood products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
other paper601000 t2017
paper601000 t2017
Industry - Glass and other non-metallic mineral products
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
cement3 774.41000 t2018
Industry - Various
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
chemicals production41 300.6M US$2016
food, beverages and tobacco production8 691M US$2016
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Trade


Tertiary sector
Foreign trade.
An exceptionally high share of exports relates to high technology products. Energy and mineral resources, industrial equipment and foodstuffs are the main imports. The most important business partners are the EU countries and the USA.


Main exports (M US$ - 2017) pharmaceuticals 38 322, chemicals 28 342, optical and electro-medical appliances 14 132, electrical and electronic equipment 9 166, odoriferous mixtures for industry 7 838, aircraft and parts thereof 6 945, fresh and preserved meat 4 345, machinery 4 124, computers and accessories 3 680, milk and dairy products 2 657, malt extract 2 274, plastics 1 469, spirits 1 033, petroleum products 744, iron and steel 666, food preparations 631, fish and crustaceans 604, live animals 504, timber 484, building materials 439, dyes 384, vehicles and parts thereof 367, residues and wastes of food industry 361, beer 309, chocolate 296, casein 294


Finance and banking.
The banking system and financial technology have developed and diversified thanks in part to favourable fiscal policies. There is a Stock Exchange in Dublin.

Composition of goods exports
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
manufactures88.546% of goods exports2018
food products8.954% of goods exports2018
International trade by country - Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
United States46 393M US$2018
Belgium21 827M US$2018
International trade by country - Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
United Kingdom23 448M US$2018
United States18 681M US$2018
Merchandise Export
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2018164 643M US$ -
2017137 479M US$ -
Merchandise Import
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
2018105 789M US$ -
201788 883M US$ -
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Tourism


Tourism. Tourism is relatively sustained: the main destinations are Dublin and the coastal resorts.

International Tourism
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expenditures6 612M US$2017
Number of arrivals10 338 000units2017
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Communications


Transport.
The modern efficient road network converges on the two main cities of Dublin and Cork. Navigation along the inland canals is mainly devoted to tourism.


Media and telecommunication.
Telecom Éireann, the public organisation that administered the telecommunications service, was privatised in 1999, taking the name of Eircom. The radio and television service is managed by Radio Teilifís Éireann (RTE).
There are also approximately twenty local commercial radio stations and a television channel in Gaelic (TG4).

Communication - Transport
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Civil aviation, km flown235 700 000km flown2004
Civil aviation, passengers carried153 537.61000 units2017
Communication - Media and telecommunication
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Broadband subscribers294.300per 1000 pop.2017
Computers582.1per 1000 pop.2008
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Social and welfare


Education and research.

School is compulsory for nine years, from 6 to 15 years of age. Primary education is free and lasts for six years; secondary education includes four different course types and is divided into a cycle of three years, an optional transitional year and a second cycle of two years. Higher education is provided by the universities of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick.


Social security and health.
The social security system, is funded by contributions from both employees as well as employers, with subsidies from the state.
Public care programmes are also provided for those who do not benefit from contribution-based protection.

Social statistics - Education
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Expected years of schooling18.8years2016
Gradautes, percentage45.7%2017
Social statistics - Students and Teachers by level
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Teachers, primary level32 267units2012
Teachers, secondary level29 729units2006
Social statistics - Social protection
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Social protection spending36.5% of total expenses2016
Social protection spending14.4% of GDP2018
Social statistics - Health
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Hospital beds2.9per 1000 pop.2016
Physicians3.1per 1000 pop.2017
Social statistics - Diseases
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
HIV0.2% of adults2017
HIV, total0.06%2001
Research
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Research and development spending1.05% of GDP2017
Other social indicators
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking100%2016
Access to electricity100%2017
Household consumption expenditure
DESCRIPTIONVALUEUNITSYEAR
clothing, footwear3.9%2017
education2.5%2017
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