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Ireland

Yearbook 2015

Ireland. Health Minister Leo Varadkar became the first Irish MP to openly admit he is gay. Varadkar, who is tipped to become Ireland's next prime minister after Enda Kenny, said in an interview on Irish public service radio that he does not want to make a secret of his sexual orientation. His statement came just months before the planned referendum on same-sex marriage would be implemented.

2015 Ireland

According to COUNTRYAAH, Prime Minister Enda Kenny promised at the beginning of the year that mass migration from Ireland will cease next year, at the same time as he launched a new plan to create more jobs. The Irish government hoped to create 40,000 new jobs during the year.

Just as in many other countries, the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo's first issue after the terrorist attack was published in Ireland. The initiative was seen by many as a tribute to freedom of speech. Others, however, argued that the publication could violate Ireland's heathen law. If the case is brought up for trial, it will then be the first test for the law that was introduced in 2010. The law is unique in Europe and involves a fine of the equivalent of SEK 240,000 in conviction.

The Irish government announced in March that Ireland would pay the final installment of its loan from the IMF earlier than agreed. The reason was that the country was now able to raise new loans with significantly lower interest rates than the almost 5% required by the IMF. Ireland's economy had gained momentum and was growing fastest in the EU. The year before, GDP grew by 4.8%.

New figures later in the year showed that the Irish economy was moving towards yet another year of highest growth in Europe. During the nine-month period ended in September, growth was 7% compared to the same period the year before, according to the Irish Statistics Office CSO.

Gerry Adams, leader of the Irish Republican Party Sinn Fein, invited British Prince Charles to a historic meeting in May. It was the first time a member of the British royal family met the leader of Sinn Fein, who wants a united Ireland. The IRA terrorist organization killed Lord Mountbatten, Charles's relative and mentor, in 1979. The British army had in turn killed civilian protesters in Northern Ireland's Londonderry seven years earlier.

In May, Ireland, as the first country in the world, said yes to same-sex marriage by referendum. About 62% voted yes. Even in the countryside, where the Catholic Church has a stronger influence, was a clear majority for the change. Homosexuality was banned in Ireland until 1993. In October, gay marriage became statutory. This made it free for marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples in Ireland.

For the first time since the banking crisis in Ireland in 2008, three former Anglo Irish Bank officials were sentenced to a sentence of between one and a half and three years in prison. The crash in the bank came to cost the Irish state € 30 billion and was one of the reasons why the country was forced to apply for emergency loans.

In September, in connection with the Mediterranean refugee disaster, Ireland agreed to accept 4,000 asylum seekers. Ireland would concentrate mainly on helping women and children.

In October, the Supreme Court of Ireland ordered the country's data protection authority to investigate whether Facebook's data transfer of user data from Europe to the US should be stopped. The case was raised after Austrian activist Max Schrems claimed that the US intelligence service NSA's methods - revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden - threatened his privacy if the user information was transmitted.

Ireland was hit in October by heavy flooding in the Desmond's storm. Two people lost their lives and over 40,000 households became powerless.

Ireland was reviewing its drug policy and was about to legalize heroin abuse under supervision. The model was Portugal where the number of dead and HIV infected due to abuse has drastically decreased. The change was expected to come into effect after the turn of the year.

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