Ireland’s population in 2015 was estimated to be around 4.7 million people, making it the second most populous country in the British Isles. The majority of Irish citizens identify as Catholic, with sizeable minorities of Protestant and non-religious people also present. The Irish economy is heavily reliant on services and exports, with the sector accounting for roughly three-quarters of the country’s GDP. Other exports include pharmaceutical products and electronics. Ireland has strong trade ties with its European neighbours, particularly Britain, as well as other countries worldwide. In terms of politics, Ireland is a parliamentary republic with a multi-party system. In 2015 Enda Kenny was the Prime Minister after winning reelection in 2011. In foreign relations, Ireland is a member of both the United Nations and European Union and is actively involved in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations. Relations with its European neighbours have been mostly positive but tensions remain between Ireland and Britain over Brexit negotiations. See ehealthfacts for Ireland in the year of 2005.
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.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Dublin is the capital of Ireland which is located in Northern Europe. 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.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Ireland country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
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.
Ireland in the twentieth century
The birth of the Free State of Ireland sparked a real civil war between the forces in favor of this compromise and those who wanted the unification of the entire island. In the following years the Free State of Ireland completely detached itself from the Commonwealth: in 1937 the Republic of Ireland was proclaimed (Eire in Gaelic), which in 1949 obtained complete independence from Great Britain.
Starting in the 1960s, the six counties of Ulster – where Catholics, in constant growth, claimed union with the Irish republic and Protestants claimed union with Great Britain – became the scene of the violence of the IRA and terrorist groups Protestants, exacerbated by Britain’s militarization of the region. Such violence continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s. But they faded during the 1990s, particularly after a decisive agreement with Great Britain was signed in 1998, with which Northern Ireland obtained ample autonomy and a parliament with effective powers; in 2005 the IRA officially renounced the armed struggle. The Republic of Ireland is part of the European Union.