Ireland

 

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.

 

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
People:
Population: 4,722,028 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21.1% (male 503,921/female 483,454)

15-64 years: 67.3% (male 1,581,959/female 1,560,238)

65 years and over: 11.6% (male 246,212/female 295,192) (2011 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

Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 2.078 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 4.702 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 39 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 16

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 5 (2012)

Military:
Military branches: Irish Defence Forces (Oglaighna h-Eireann): Army (includes Naval Service and Air Corps) (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 17-25 years of age for male and 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; 17-35 years of age for the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF); maximum obligation 12 years (5 years IDF, 7 years RDF); EU citizenship or 5-year residence in Ireland required (2010)

Economy:

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 fuelled 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 labour 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.

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: transhipment 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 transhipment 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