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Flag of Ireland

Country Profile

Capital City: Dublin (pop. 500 000)

Other Cities: Cork (123,338), Galway (66 000), Limerick (54 000), Waterford, (44 000).

Local Time: UTC +0h

Location: Northern Europe, Northwest of UK
Area: 70,282 sq. km. (27,136 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Arable 10%, meadows and pastures 77%, rough grazing in use 11%, inland water 2%.

Border countries
: Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Climate: Temperate maritime, mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time.


Type: Parliamentary republic.
Independence: 6 Decembe 1921.
Constitution: 29 December 1937.

Nationality: Noun--Irishman, Irishwoman. Adjective--Irish.
Population: 3 900 000
Ethnic Groups: Irish, with English minority.
Religions: Roman Catholic 88.4%; Church of Ireland 3.0%; other 8.7%.
Languages: English, Irish (Gaelic)
Literacy: 99%


Currency: Euro (EUR)

Natural resources: Natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite.

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.

Exports partners:
USA 20.5%, UK 18.1%, Belgium 12.6%, Germany 8.3%, France 6.1%, Netherlands 5.1%, Italy 4.6% (2003)

Imports partners: UK 34.9%, USA 15.8%, Germany 7.9%, Netherlands 4.1% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Ireland
Áras an Uachtaráin

Government of Ireland

Department of the Taoiseach

Thithe an Oireachtais


The Department of Foreign Affairs

Diplomatic Missions
Embassy of Ireland

Irish Embassies abroad

Diplomatic Embassies accredited to Ireland

Central Statistics Office Ireland

Met Éireann

Map of Ireland

Map of the United Kingdom



Background:  A failed 1916 Easter Monday Rebellion touched off several
years of guerrilla warfare that in 1921 resulted in independence from
the UK for the 26 southern counties; the six northern counties (Ulster)
remained part of Great Britain. 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 currently being implemented.

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:  exclusive fishing zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 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:  zinc, lead, natural gas, barite, copper, gypsum,
limestone, dolomite, peat, silver

Land use:  arable land: 20% permanent crops: 0% other: 80% (1998 est.)

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-Sulphur 94, Biodiversity,
Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous
Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer
Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94,
Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent
Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species,
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:  3,883,159 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 21.3% (male 425,366; female 403,268) 15-64
years: 67.3% (male 1,307,469; female 1,305,038) 65 years and over: 11.4%
(male 191,927; female 250,091) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  1.07% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  14.62 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  8.01 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  4.12 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.77
male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  5.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   80.12 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.9 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.1% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  2,200 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  less than 100 (1999 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%

Languages:  English is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic)
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:

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

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
 Prime Minister Bertie AHERN (since 26 June 1997) cabinet:  prime minister
 and approval of the House of Representatives elections:  held 31 October
 1997 (next to be held NA November 2004); prime minister
nominated by the House of Representatives and appointed by the president
note: government coalition - Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats
election results: Mary MCALEESE elected president; percent of vote -
Mary MCALEESE 44.8%, Mary BANOTTI 29.6%

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:  Fine Gael 16, Labor Party 4, Progressive Democrats
4, others 7; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%;
seats by party - Fianna Fail 80, Fine Gael 31, Labor Party 21, Progressive
Democrats 8, Green Party 6, Sinn Fein 5, others 15 elections: Senate -
last held NA August 1997 (next to be held NA August 2002); House of
Representatives - last held 17 May 2002 (next to be held NA 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
[Michael NOONAN]; Green Party [Trevor SARGENT]; Labor Party [Ruairi
QUINN]; Progressive Democrats [Mary HARNEY]; Sinn Fein [Gerry ADAMS];
Socialist Party [Joe HIGGINS]; The Workers' Party [Tom FRENCH]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  Australia Group, BIS, CCC,
IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS
(observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UN Security Council (temporary),

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador Sean
O'HUIGINN 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
Richard J. EGAN embassy: 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 mailing
address: use embassy street address telephone: [353] (1) 668-7122/668-8777
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 9% in 1995-2001. Agriculture, once the
most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry, which accounts
for 38% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and employs 28% of the labor
force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Ireland's robust
growth, the economy is also benefiting from a rise in consumer spending
and recovery in both construction and business investment. Over the past
decade, the Irish government has implemented a series of national economic
programs designed to curb 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. The economy felt the impact of the global economic slowdown
in 2001, particularly in the high-tech export sector; the growth rate was
cut by nearly half. Growth in 2002 is expected to fall in the 3%-5% range.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $104.7 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  5.6% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $27,300 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 4% industry: 38% services: 58%

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):  4.9% (2001)

Labor force:  1.8 million (2001)

Labor force - by occupation:  services 64%, industry 28%, agriculture 8%
(2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:  4.3% (2001)

Budget:  revenues: $34 billion expenditures: $27 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2001)

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

Industrial production growth rate:  6.5% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  22.285 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 94.86% hydro: 3.77%
other: 1.37% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  20.823 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  71 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  169 million kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat;
beef, dairy products

Exports:  $75.9 billion (f.o.b., 2001)

Exports - commodities:  machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals,
pharmaceuticals; live animals, animal products

Exports - partners:  EU 63% (UK 20%, Germany 11%, France 8%, Netherlands
6%, Belgium 5%), US 20% (2000)

Imports:  $49.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001)

Imports - commodities:  data processing equipment, other machinery and
equipment, chemicals; petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing

Imports - partners:  EU 61% (UK 33%, Germany 6%, France 5%, Netherlands
4%), US 16%, Japan 4% (2000)

Debt - external:  $11 billion (1998)

Economic aid - donor:  ODA, $283 million (2001)

Currency:  euro (EUR); Irish pound (IEP) 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; IEP

Exchange rates:  euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175
(2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); Irish pounds per US dollar - 0.7014
(1998), 0.6588 (1997)

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Ireland

Telephones - main lines in use:  1.59 million (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  2 million (2001)

Telephone system:  general assessment: modern digital system using cable
and microwave radio relay domestic: microwave radio relay international:
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 Service Providers (ISPs):  22 (2000)

Internet users:  1.25 million (2001)

Transportation Ireland

Railways:  total: 3,314 km broad gauge: 1,949 km 1.600-m gauge (38 km
electrified; 485 km double-tracked) narrow gauge: 1,365 km 0.914-m gauge
(operated by the Irish Peat Board to transport peat to power stations
and briqueting plants) (2001)

Highways:  total: 92,500 km paved: 87,043 km (including 115 km of
expressways) unpaved: 5,457 km (1999 est.)

Waterways:  700 km (limited facilities for commercial traffic) (1998)

Pipelines:  natural gas 7,592 km (transmission 1,158 km; distribution
6,434 km) (2000)

Ports and harbors:  Arklow, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Foynes, Galway,
Limerick, New Ross, Waterford

Merchant marine:  total: 26 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 110,741
GRT/127,342 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here
as a flag of convenience: Germany 2 (2002 est.)  ships by type: bulk 4,
cargo 20, container 1, short-sea passenger 1

Airports:  41 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 17 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047
m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 3 914 to 1,523 m: 5 under 914 m: 7 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 24 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m:
22 (2001)

Military Ireland

Military branches:  Army (including Naval Service and Air Corps),
National Police (Garda Siochana)

Military manpower - military age:  17 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 1,013,739 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 816,744
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 32,287
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $700 million (FY00/01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  0.9% (FY00/01)

Transnational Issues Ireland

Disputes - international:  disputes with Iceland, Denmark, and the UK
over the Faroe Islands continental shelf boundary outside 200 NM

Illicit drugs:  transshipment point for and consumer of hashish from
North Africa to the UK and Netherlands and of European-produced synthetic
drugs; minor transshipment point for heroin and cocaine destined for
Western Europe

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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