The World Factbook (1990)/Ireland

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Ireland


World Factbook (1990) Ireland.jpg

 See regional map V



Geography


Total area: 70,280 km²; land area: 68,890 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundary: 360 km with UK

Coastline: 1,448 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: no precise definition
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: maritime boundary with the UK; Northern Ireland question with the UK; Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark, Iceland, and the UK (Ireland and the UK have signed a boundary agreement in the Rockall area)

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

Natural resources: zinc, lead, natural gas, crude oil, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, peat, silver

Land use: 14% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 71% meadows and pastures; 5% forest and woodland; 10% other

Environment: deforestation


People


Population: 3,500,212 (July 1990), growth rate -0.4% (1990)

Birth rate: 15 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -10 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 6 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 72 years male, 78 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.1 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Irishman(men), Irish (collective pl.); adjective—Irish

Ethnic divisions: Celtic, with English minority

Religion: 94% Roman Catholic, 4% Anglican, 2% other

Language: Irish (Gaelic) and English; English is the language generally used, with Gaelic spoken in a few areas, mostly along the western seaboard

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 1,310,000; 57.3% services, 19.1% manufacturing and construction, 14.8% agriculture, forestry, and fishing (1988)

Organized labor: 36% of labor force


Government


Long-form name: Republic of Ireland

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

Independence: 6 December 1921 (from UK)

Constitution: 29 December 1937; adopted 1937

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

National holiday: St. Patrick's Day, 17 March

Executive branch: president, prime minister, deputy prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament (Oireachtas) consists of an upper house or Senate (Seanad Eireann) and a lower house or House of Representatives (Dáil Eireann)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Dr. Patrick J. HILLERY (since 3 December 1976);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Charles J. HAUGHEY (since 12 July 1989, the fourth time elected as prime minister)

Political parties and leaders: Fianna Fail, Charles Haughey; Labor Party, Richard Spring; Fine Gael, Alan Dukes; Communist Party of Ireland, Michael O'Riordan; Workers' Party, Proinsias DeRossa; Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams; Progressive Democrats, Desmond O'Malley; note—Prime Minister Haughey heads a coalition consisting of the Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: President—last held 21 October 1983 (next to be held October 1990); results—Dr. Patrick Hillery reelected; Senate last held on 17 February 1987 (next to be held February 1992); results—percent of vote by party NA; seats—(60 total, 49 elected) Fianna Fail 30, Fine Gael 16, Labor 3, Independents 11;

House of Representatives—last held on 12 July 1989 (next to be held NA June 1994); results—Fianna Fail 44.0%, Fine Gael 29.4%, Labor Party 9.3%, Progressive Democrats 5.4%, Workers' Party 4.9%, Sinn Fein 1.1%, independents 5.9%; seats—(166 total) Fianna Fail 77, Fine Gael 55, Labor Party 15, Workers' Party 7, Progressive Democrats 6, independents 6

Communists: under 500

Member of: CCC, Council of Europe, EC, EMS, ESA, FAO, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICES, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IPU, ISO, ITC, ITU, IWC—International Wheat Council, OECD, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WSG

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Padraic N. MACKERNAN; Chancery at 2234 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 462-3939; there are Irish Consulates General in Boston, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco; US—Ambassador Richard A. MOORE; Embassy at 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin; telephone [353](1) 688777

Flag: three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and orange; similar to the flag of the Ivory Coast 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


Overview: The economy is small, open, and trade dependent. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry, which accounts for 35% of GNP and about 80% of exports and employs 20% of the labor force. The government has successfully reduced the rate of inflation from double-digit figures in the late 1970s to about 4% in 1989. In 1987, after years of deficits, the balance of payments was brought into the black. Unemployment, however, is a serious problem. A 1989 unemployment rate of 17.7% placed Ireland along with Spain as the countries with the worst jobless records in Western Europe.

GDP: $31.4 billion, per capita $8,900; real growth rate 4.3% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.2% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 17.7% (1989)

Budget: revenues $10.9 billion; expenditures $11.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.5 billion (1989)

Exports: $20.3 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—live animals, animal products, chemicals, data processing equipment, industrial machinery; partners—EC 74% (UK 35%, FRG 11%, France 9%), US 8%

Imports: $17.3 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—food, animal feed, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, machinery, textiles, clothing; partners—EC 66% (UK 42%, FRG 9%, France 4%), US 16%

External debt: $16.1 billion (1988)

Industrial production: growth rate 9.5% (1989 est.)

Electricity: 4,957,000 kW capacity; 14,480 million kWh produced, 4,080 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: food products, brewing, textiles, clothing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, transportation equipment, glass and crystal

Agriculture: accounts for 11% of GNP and 14.8% of the labor force; principal crops—turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; livestock—meat and dairy products; 85% self-sufficient in food; food shortages include bread grain, fruits, vegetables

Aid: NA

Currency: Irish pound (plural—pounds); 1 Irish pound (Ĭr) = 100 pence

Exchange rates: Irish pounds (Ĭr) per US$1—0.6399 (January 1990), 0.7047 (1989), 0.6553 (1988), 0.6720 (1987), 0.7454 (1986), 0.9384 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Communications


Railroads: Irish National Railways (CIE) operates 1,947 km 1.602-meter gauge, government owned; 485 km double track; 38 km electrified

Highways: 92,294 km total; 87,422 km surfaced, 4,872 km gravel or crushed stone

Inland waterways: limited for commercial traffic

Pipelines: natural gas, 225 km

Ports: Cork, Dublin, Shannon Estuary, Waterford

Merchant marine: 67 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 113,569 GRT/139,681 DWT; includes 3 short-sea passenger, 29 cargo, 2 refrigerated cargo, 2 container, 23 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 specialized tanker, 2 chemical tanker, 5 bulk

Civil air: 23 major transport aircraft

Airports: 40 total, 37 usable; 18 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 5 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: small, modern system using cable and radio relay circuits; 900,000 telephones; stations—45 AM, 16 (29 relays) FM, 18 (68 relays) TV; 5 coaxial submarine cables; 2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth stations


Defense Forces


Branches: Army, Naval Service, Army Air Corps

Military manpower: males 15-49, 870,161; 705,765 fit for military service; 33,259 reach military age (17) annually

Defense expenditures: 1.6% of GDP, or $500 million (1989 est.)