CIA World Fact Book, 2004/Ireland

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CIA WFB Seal.png Ireland Flag of Ireland (WFB 2004).gif
Ireland-CIA WFB Map.png
 
Introduction Ireland
Background: Celtic tribes settled on the island from 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 United Kingdom. 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, known as the Good Friday Agreement and approved in 1998, is being implemented with some difficulties.
 
Geography Ireland
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
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 70,280 sq km
water: 1,390 sq km
land: 68,890 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries: total: 360 km
border countries: UK 360 km
Coastline: 1,448 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Climate: temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time
Terrain: mostly level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m
Natural resources: natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite
Land use: arable land: 15.2%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 84.77% (2001)
Irrigated land: NA sq km
Natural hazards: NA
Environment - current issues: water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff
Environment - international agreements: 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: strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 97 km of Dublin
 
People Ireland
Population: 3,969,558 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21% (male 430,905; female 404,218)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 1,342,233; female 1,337,580)
65 years and over: 11.5% (male 199,379; female 255,243) (2004 est.)
Median age: total: 33.4 years
male: 32.6 years
female: 34.2 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.16% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 14.47 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 7.91 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: 4.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio: 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: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 5.5 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.92 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 6.04 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.36 years
male: 74.74 years
female: 80.15 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.87 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 2,400 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: less than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)
adjective: Irish
Ethnic groups: Celtic, English
Religions: Roman Catholic 91.6%, Church of Ireland 2.5%, other 5.9% (1998)
Languages: English is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) spoken mainly in areas located along the western seaboard
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98% (1981 est.)
male: NA
female: NA
 
Government Ireland
Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Ireland
Government type: republic
Capital: Dublin
Administrative divisions: 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
note: Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan are part of Ulster Province
Independence: 6 December 1921 (from UK by treaty)
National holiday: Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March
Constitution: 29 December 1937; adopted 1 July 1937 by plebiscite
Legal system: 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: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Mary MCALEESE (since 11 November 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Bertie AHERN (since 26 June 1997)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with previous nomination by the prime minister and approval of the House of Representatives
election results: Mary MCALEESE elected president; percent of vote - Mary MCALEESE 44.8%, Mary BANOTTI 29.6%
note: government coalition - Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; election last held 31 October 1997 (next scheduled for 22 October 2004); note - Mary MCALEESE appointed to a second term when no other candidate qualified for the 2004 presidential election; prime minister nominated by the House of Representatives and appointed by the president
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament or Oireachtas consists of the Senate or Seanad Eireann (60 seats - 49 elected by the universities and from candidates put forward by five vocational panels, 11 are nominated by the prime minister; members 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)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Fianna Fail 30, Fine Gael 15, Labor Party 5, Progressive Democrats 4, independents and others 6; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Fianna Fail 41.5%, Fine Gael 22.5%, Labor Party 10.8%, Sinn Fein 6.5%, Progressive Democrats 4.0%, Green Party 3.8%, others 10.9%; seats by party - Fianna Fail 81, Fine Gael 31, Labor Party 21, Progressive Democrats 8, Green Party 6, Sinn Fein 5, others 14
elections: Senate - last held 16 and 17 July 2002 (next to be held by July 2007); House of Representatives - last held 17 May 2002 (next to be held by May 2007)
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet)
Political parties and leaders: Fianna Fail [Bertie AHERN]; Fine Gael [Enda KENNY]; Green Party [Trevor SARGENT]; Labor Party [Pat RABITTE]; Progressive Democrats [Mary HARNEY]; Sinn Fein [Gerry ADAMS]; Socialist Party [Joe HIGGINS]; The Workers' Party [Sean GARLAND]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: Australia Group, BIS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MIGA, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIK, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (observer), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Noel FAHEY
chancery: 2234 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco
FAX: [1] (202) 232-5993
telephone: [1] (202) 462-3939
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador James C. KENNY
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: 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: Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging a robust 8% in 1995-2002. The global slowdown, especially in the information technology sector, pressed growth down to 2.1% in 2003. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services. Industry accounts for 46% of GDP and about 80% of exports and employs 28% of the labor force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Ireland's growth, the economy has also benefited from a rise in consumer spending, construction, and business investment. Per capita GDP is 10% above that of the four big European economies and the second highest in the sEU, behind Luxembourg. Over the past decade, the Irish Government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb price and wage inflation, reduce government spending, increase labor force skills, and promote foreign investment. Ireland joined in launching the euro currency system in January 1999 along with 10 other EU nations.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $116.2 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.4% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $29,600 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5%
industry: 46%
services: 49% (2002 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 22.9% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line: 10% (1997 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 27.3% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 35.9 (1987)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.5% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 1.871 million (2003)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 8%, industry 29%, services 64% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4.7% (2003 est.)
Budget: revenues: $53.22 billion
expenditures: $53.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.5 billion (2003)
Public debt: 31.2% of GDP (2003)
Agriculture - products: turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef, dairy products
Industries: food products, brewing, textiles, clothing; chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, transportation equipment, glass and crystal; software
Industrial production growth rate: 6.7% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production: 23.53 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 21.63 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports: 285 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports: 38 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption: 174,400 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports: 27,450 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports: 178,600 bbl/day (2001)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production: 815 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 4.199 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 3.384 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 9.911 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Current account balance: $-2.994 billion (2003)
Exports: $98.31 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products (1999)
Exports - partners: US 20.5%, UK 18.1%, Belgium 12.6%, Germany 8.3%, France 6.1%, Netherlands 5.1%, Italy 4.6% (2003)
Imports: $57.54 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities: data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals; petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing
Imports - partners: UK 34.9%, US 15.8%, Germany 7.9%, Netherlands 4.1% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold: $4.152 billion (2003)
Debt - external: $11 billion (1998)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $283 million (2001)
Currency: euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries
Currency code: EUR
Exchange rates: euros per US dollar - 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999)
Fiscal year: calendar year
 
Communications Ireland
Telephones - main lines in use: 1.955 million (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 3.4 million (2003)
Telephone system: general assessment: modern digital system using cable and microwave radio relay
domestic: microwave radio relay
international: country code - 353; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 9, FM 106, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 2.55 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 4 (many low-power repeaters) (2001)
Televisions: 1.82 million (2001)
Internet country code: .ie
Internet hosts: 162,228 (2004)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 22 (2000)
Internet users: 1.26 million (2003)
 
Transportation Ireland
Railways: total: 3,312 km
broad gauge: 1,947 km 1.600-m gauge (46 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) (2003)
Highways: total: 92,500 km
paved: 87,043 km (including 115 km of expressways)
unpaved: 5,457 km (2000 est.)
Waterways: 753 km (pleasure craft only) (2004)
Pipelines: gas 1,795 km (2004)
Ports and harbors: Arklow, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Foynes, Galway, Limerick, New Ross, Waterford
Merchant marine: total: 35 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 288,401 GRT/383,628 DWT
registered in other countries: 18 (2004 est.)
foreign-owned: Germany 3, Italy 7, Norway 2
by type: bulk 7, cargo 22, chemical tanker 1, container 3, roll on/roll off 1, short-sea/passenger 1
Airports: 36 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: 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: 3
under 914 m: 6 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 21
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 17 (2004 est.)
 
Military Ireland
Military branches: Army (including Naval Service and Air Corps)
Military manpower - military age and obligation: 17 years of age for voluntary military service; enlistees under the age of 17 can be recruited for specialist positions (2001)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 1,029,525 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 827,811 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 30,083 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $700 million (FY00/01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 0.9% (FY00/01)
This page was last updated on 1 January 2003



This is a snapshot of the CIA World Fact Book as it existed on 26 March 2005