Ireland

source : World Fact Book 2008 (October 2008)

SEE UPDATED INFORMATION HERE

   Introduction    Ireland
Background:
Definition Field Listing 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 1949, 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.
   Geography    Ireland
Location:
Definition Field Listing Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing 53 00 N, 8 00 W
Map references:
Definition Field Listing Europe
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 70,280 sq km
land: 68,890 sq km
water: 1,390 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing total: 360 km
border countries: UK 360 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing 1,448 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite
Land use:
Definition Field Listing arable land: 16.82%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 83.15% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing NA
Total renewable water resources:
Definition Field Listing 46.8 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
Definition Field Listing total: 1.18 cu km/yr (23%/77%/0%)
per capita: 284 cu m/yr (1994)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing NA
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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
   People    Ireland
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4,156,119 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing 0-14 years: 20.9% (male 448,333/female 418,476)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 1,400,222/female 1,398,194)
65 years and over: 11.8% (male 218,459/female 272,435) (2008 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing total: 34.6 years
male: 33.9 years
female: 35.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing 1.133% (2008 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 14.33 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 7.77 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.76 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 5.14 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 5.63 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.61 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total population: 78.07 years
male: 75.44 years
female: 80.88 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.85 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2,800 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order fewer than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing noun: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)
adjective: Irish
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing Irish 87.4%, other white 7.5%, Asian 1.3%, black 1.1%, mixed 1.1%, unspecified 1.6% (2006 census)
Religions:
Definition Field Listing Roman Catholic 87.4%, Church of Ireland 2.9%, other Christian 1.9%, other 2.1%, unspecified 1.5%, none 4.2% (2006 census)
Languages:
Definition Field Listing English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
Definition Field Listing total: 18 years
male: 17 years
female: 18 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.7% of GDP (2005)
   Government    Ireland
Country name:
Definition Field Listing conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Ireland
local long form: none
local short form: Eire
Government type:
Definition Field Listing republic, parliamentary democracy
Capital:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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
Independence:
Definition Field Listing 6 December 1921 (from UK by treaty)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing adopted 1 July 1937 by plebiscite; effective 29 December 1937
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing chief of state: President Mary MCALEESE (since 11 November 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Brian COWEN (since 7 May 2008)
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:
Definition Field Listing 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 in 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:
Definition Field Listing Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing Fianna Fail [Brian COWEN]; 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:
Definition Field Listing Families Acting for Innocent Relatives or FAIR [Brian McCONNELL] (seek compensation for victims of violence); Families Against Intimidation and Terror or FAIT (oppose terrorism); Gaeltacht Civil Rights Campaign (Coiste Cearta Sibhialta na Gaeilge) or CCSG (encourages the use of the Irish language and campaigns for greater civil rights in Irish speaking areas); Irish Republican Army or IRA (terrorist group); Keep Ireland Open (environmental group); Midland Railway Aciton Group or MRAG [Willie ALLEN] (transportation promoters); Rail Users Ireland (formerly the Platform 11 - transportation promoters); 32 Country Sovereignty Movement or 32CSM (supports a fully sovereign Ireland); Ulster Defence Association or UDA (terrorist group)
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing 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
   Economy    Ireland
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing 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):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $191.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing $258.6 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $46,600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 5%
industry: 46%
services: 49% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.217 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing agriculture: 6%
industry: 27%
services: 67% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.6% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing 7% (2005 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 27.2% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing 32 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.9% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 26.3% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing revenues: $93.22 billion
expenditures: $92.46 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 24.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef, dairy products
Industries:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 24.13 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 24.09 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing 1 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing 2.045 billion kWh (2005)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 192,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 23,360 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 204,400 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 546.7 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 3.895 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 3.348 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 9.505 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order -$14.12 billion (2007 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $115.5 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing UK 18.7%, US 17.9%, Belgium 14.5%, Germany 7.4%, France 5.8% (2007)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $84.76 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing UK 38.2%, US 11.3%, Germany 9.7%, Netherlands 5%, France 4.1% (2007)
Economic aid - donor:
Definition Field Listing ODA, $1.022 billion (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $926.2 million (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $1.841 trillion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $191.4 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $139.6 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order $114.1 billion (2005)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing euro (EUR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing euros per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing calendar year
   Communications    Ireland
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 2.112 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 4.94 million (2007)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing AM 9, FM 106, shortwave 0 (1998)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing 4 (many repeaters) (2001)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing .ie
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 429,487 (2007)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 1.708 million (2007)
   Transportation    Ireland
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 34 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing 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:
Definition Field Listing total: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 16 (2007)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing gas 1,855 km (2007)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 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:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 96,602 km
paved: 96,602 km (includes 200 km of expressways) (2003)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 956 km (pleasure craft only) (2007)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order total: 28 ships (1000 GRT or over) 118,308 GRT/166,218 DWT
by type: cargo 24, chemical tanker 2, container 1, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 3 (Spain 1, US 2)
registered in other countries: 25 (Bahamas 4, Bermuda 1, Bulgaria 1, Cyprus 3, Germany 1, Isle of Man 1, Netherlands 11, Panama 2, UK 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing Cork, Dublin, Shannon Foynes
   Military    Ireland
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing Irish Defense Forces (Oglaigh na h-Eireann): Army (includes Naval Service and Air Corps (Aer-Chor na h-Eireann)) (2008)
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing 17-25 years of age for male or female voluntary military service (17-27 years of age for the Naval Service); enlistees 16 years of age can be recruited for apprentice specialist positions; maximum obligation 12 years; 17-35 years of age for the Reserve Defense Forces; EU citizenship or 5-year residence in Ireland required (2008)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 1,024,635
females age 16-49: 1,024,276 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing males age 16-49: 854,982
females age 16-49: 852,592 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
Definition Field Listing male: 28,610
female: 27,095 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order 0.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Ireland
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing Ireland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing 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


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Source : CIA's World Fact Book 2008

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