Difference between revisions of "Ireland"

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|name          =''Ireland''
 
|name          =''Ireland''
 
|map         =Ireland.jpg
 
|map         =Ireland.jpg
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|map2          =Ireland location.png
 
|flag         =Flag of Ireland.png
 
|flag         =Flag of Ireland.png
 
|arms         =Ireland arms.png
 
|arms         =Ireland arms.png
|capital =Dublin and Belfast
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|capital =Dublin
 
|capital-raw =
 
|capital-raw =
|government =Republic and Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy
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|government =Republic and Parliamentary Democracy
 
|government-raw =
 
|government-raw =
|language =[[Irish]] and [[English]]
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|language =Irish and English
 
|king         =
 
|king         =
|queen         =  
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|queen         =
 
|monarch-raw =
 
|monarch-raw =
|president =Michael D. Higgins
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|president =Michael D. Higgins  
 
|president-raw =
 
|president-raw =
 
|chancellor =
 
|chancellor =
 
|chancellor-raw =
 
|chancellor-raw =
|pm         =
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|pm         =Enda Kenny
|pm-raw         =Minister president [[Enda Kenny]]
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|pm-raw         =
 
|area         =27,133 sq mi
 
|area         =27,133 sq mi
|pop         =4,239,848 (2007)
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|pop         =4,757,976
|pop-basis =
+
|pop-basis =2016
 
|gdp         =
 
|gdp         =
|gdp-year =$177.2 billion (2006)
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|gdp-year =$204.144 billion (2010)
|gdp-pc         =$43,600 (2006)
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|gdp-pc         =$45,642 (2010)
|currency =euro and Pound
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|currency =euro
 
|idd =
 
|idd =
|tld            =
+
|tld            =.ie
 
}}
 
}}
'''Ireland''' (Irish: ''Éire'') is a European island to the west of mainland Europe. It is separated from the mainland by several islands, including the [[Isle of Man]], [[Great Britain]] and the [[Channel Islands]].
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'''Ireland''' is a country in northwestern Europe comprising five sixths the island of [[Ireland (island)|Ireland]]. Ireland became independent in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The 1937 constitution gives the name of the state as simply "Ireland."<ref>"[http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Historical_Information/The_Constitution/ Constitution of Ireland - Bunreacht na hÉireann]"</ref> It is sometimes described as the "Republic of Ireland".
  
In 1920, it was divided into two states:
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Ireland supports the [[homosexual agenda]].<ref>http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/05/23/ireland-gay-marriage/</ref> On the other hand, Ireland is very [[pro-life]], [[abortion]] is restricted in Ireland: to cases of when the mother's life is endangered and when she is likely to commit [[suicide]].  
* [[Republic of Ireland]] (or simply '''Ireland''') is an independent state occupying 83% of Ireland's landmass. The state's descriptive name since the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 is the '''[[Republic of Ireland]]''' (Irish: Poblacht na hÉireann). It consists of 26 of Ireland's 32 counties in the island's four provinces of Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster. However, only 3 of the 9 counties in [[Ulster]] are under the control of the Republic of Ireland. According to the last census the Republic of Ireland has a population of 4,234,925 <ref>[http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/environment/copy_of_census/ Census data]</ref>
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*'''[[Northern Ireland]]''' is a [[constituent country]] of the [[United Kingdom]] which comprises six counties of the province of Ulster. Northern Ireland has a population of 1,685,267 (2002 est.) <ref>[http://www.nicensus2001.gov.uk/nica/browser/profile.jsp?profile=Demography&mainArea=&mainLevel= U.K. Census]</ref>
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<!-- the official name in the English language , under the Irish Constitution of 1937, of the -->
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==Geography==
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The island of Ireland is located in the [[Atlantic Ocean]], to the west of Great Britain. Of the thirty two counties on the island of Ireland, twenty six are in Ireland, including all counties in the provinces of Connacht, Munster and Leinster. Of the nine counties of [[Ulster]], three ([[Cavan]], [[Monaghan]] and [[Donegal]]) are in Ireland and the remaining counties remain in the [[United Kingdom]]. The longest river in Ireland, The Shannon, divides the country into a largely urban eastern section, dominated by Dublin, and a more rural, less economically vibrant western area.
  
 
==People==
 
==People==
The Irish people are mainly of Celtic origin, with the country's only significant sized minority having descended from the [[Normans]]. English is the common language, but Irish (Gaelic/Gaeilge) is the first official language of the Republic of Ireland; Irish is taught in schools, appears on all official documents, and all road signs are also bilingual. In Northern Ireland, Irish has official recognition under the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Schools teaching through the medium of Irish known as Gaelscoileanna have experienced considerable growth in the past two decades in both parts of Ireland. Although initially reluctant, both the British state in Northern Ireland and the Irish state in the Republic of Ireland have funded this development following protests and requests from parents.  
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The Irish people are mainly of Celtic and Norman origin with history of some Anglo-Saxon settlers during failed English plantations (successful in Northern Ireland only). Today, the country has many minorities including substantial numbers of people from [[Poland]], [[China]] and [[Nigeria]]. Traditionally the language of Irish (Gaelic) was the primary one on the island but after centuries of British colonialism by the end of the 19th century it was endangered and was confined to very small,peripheral regions in the West of the country as it continues to today following an unsuccessful attempt to revive the language by Ireland's government. Britain tried to secure unity with Ireland by using multiple large scale plantations of Scottish Protestant settlers. All of these where failures due to the native Irish violently opposing such settlers,the only success was the Ulster plantation which is the reason for the large Protestant population in Northern Ireland and the partitioning of the country. There is still sectarian conflict in this part of the island.
  
Irish writers such as [[Jonathan Swift]], [[Richard Brinsley Sheridan]], [[Oliver Goldsmith]], [[Edmund Burke]], [[Oscar Wilde]], [[James Joyce]], [[William Butler Yeats]], [[George Bernard Shaw]], [[C. S. Lewis]] and [[Samuel Beckett]] have made a major contribution to world literature over the past 350 years.  
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During the 1840s a disease known as the potato blight spread through the nations potato crop (most Irish were totally reliant on potatoes). The English did not help and the blight caused mass starvation and disease. In the end about 1 million had died and about 1 million had emigrated. The famine was a major blow to the nation, especially to the native language (Irish) and eventually the population would fall from over 8 million before the famine to under 3 million in the mid 20th century(before rising again). The nation continued to be a major source of immigrants to the United States and today over 30 million Americans report Irish ancestry making it the second largest ancestry in the United States only behind German.
 
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Irish writers(many Anglo-Irish) such as Swift, Sheridan, Goldsmith, Burke, O'Casey, Wilde, Joyce, Yeats, Shaw, and Beckett have made major contributions to English literature over the past 300 years.  
===Religion===
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*Population: 4,470,700 (2010 est.).
The majority of the Irish population describe themselves as [[Roman Catholic]] (86.8%). Atheists and the non-religious account for 4.4% of the population <ref>[http://www.cso.ie/census/documents/Final%20Principal%20Demographic%20Results%202006.pdf ]</ref>while membership of the [[Anglican Communion|Church of Ireland]] runs at about 3%, with most of the rest of the population belonging to other Protestant/Christian denominations. Southern Protestantism had been in decline since independence due to the ''ne temere'' decree (in which the Catholic church required children of mixed Catholic/Protestant marriages to be raised Catholic) <ref>[http://www.catholic-forum.com/saintS/ncd05730.htm]</ref> and emigration. However, it has experienced a revival of late due to immigration and some converts from Catholicism. There is a small Jewish community in Ireland. The Muslim community has grown recently due to immigration. The worship of nature and the pagan gods of ancient Ireland has seen a recent resurgence as well.
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*Cities: Capital—Dublin (pop. 506,211). Other cities—Cork (119,418), Limerick (92,539), Galway (72,414),  Waterford, (45,748).
<ref>[http://www.cso.ie/statistics/popnclassbyreligionandsex2002.htm Census; Population Class by Religion/sex]</ref>
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*Population breakdown 0–14 years (20.4%), 15–24 years (15%), 25–34 years (17%), 35–44 years (14%), 45–54 years (12%), 55–64 years (10%), 65 years and over (11%)
 
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*Population growth rate: 2.61% (2008 est.).
The Republic has maintained a nominally Catholic ethos since independence. [[Abortion]] remains controversially illegal (although information on obtaining abortions in other jurisdictions is a constitutional entitlement, and many thousands of women travel to the UK for treatment <ref>[http://www.crisispregnancy.ie/pub/statistical_report_2005.pdf Crisis Pregnancy; Report, 2005]</ref> ). However, since the separation of church and state in the late eighties and a lessening of church influence on secular life, restrictions on the availability of contraception were removed in 1972; homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993; and the right to divorce was enshrined in the constitution in 1995. Equal Rights legislation guarantees homosexuals the same legal rights as heterosexuals, and the Irish parliament is currently debating the possible legalization of [[same-sex marriage]].
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*Ethnic groups: Irish 84.5%, other white 9.8%, Asian 1.9%, black 1.4%, mixed and other 0.9%, unspecified 1.6% (2011 est.).
 
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*Religions: Roman Catholic 86.8%; No religion 4.4%; Church of Ireland 3%; Islam 0.8%; Presbyterian 0.6%; Orthodox 0.5%; Methodist 0.3%; other 2.1%
Northern Ireland has a Protestant majority (53%), the main denominations being Presbyterian and Church of Ireland (Anglican/Episcopal). Roughly 44% of the population is Roman Catholic, with most of the remainder professing no religion. <ref>[http://www.nicensus2001.gov.uk/nica/browser/profile.jsp?profile=Cultural&mainArea=&mainLevel=]</ref>
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*Languages: English, Irish (Gaelic).  
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*Education: Compulsory up to age 16. Enrolment rates: first (primary) level 449,508, second (high school and vocational) level 335,162, third (university and college) level 133,691. Literacy—98%-99%.  
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*Health: Infant mortality rate—4.61/1,000. Life expectancy at birth—male 77.32 yrs., female 81.79 yrs.
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*Work force: Services—66%; industry—28%; agriculture—6%.
  
 
==Government and Political Conditions==
 
==Government and Political Conditions==
The Republic of Ireland is a sovereign, independent, democratic state with a parliamentary system of government. The president (or Uachtarán), who serves as head of state in a largely ceremonial role, is elected for a 7-year term and can be re-elected only once. The current president is Mary McAleese, who is serving her second term after having succeeded President Mary Robinson - the first instance worldwide where one woman has followed another as an elected head of state. In carrying out certain constitutional functions, the president is aided by the Council of State, an advisory body. On the [[Taoiseach]]'s advice, the president also dissolves the Oireachtas (Parliament).  
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Ireland is a sovereign, independent, democratic state with a parliamentary system of government. The president, who serves as head of state in a largely ceremonial role, is elected for a 7-year term and can be re-elected only once. The current president is Michael D. Higgins, who is serving his first term after succeeding President [[Mary McAleese]]. In carrying out certain constitutional powers and functions, the president is aided by the Council of State, an advisory body. On the Taoiseach's (prime minister's) advice, the president also dissolves the Oireachtas (Parliament).  
  
The [[Taoiseach]] (pronounced "TEE-shock") is elected by the Dáil (lower house of Parliament) as the leader of the political party, or coalition of parties, which wins the most seats in the national elections, held approximately every 5 years (unless called earlier). Executive power is vested in a cabinet whose ministers are nominated by the Taoiseach and approved by the Dáil.  
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The [[Taoiseach]] (pronounced "TEE-shuck")(prime minister)  is elected by the Dáil (lower house of Parliament) as the leader of the incoming government. He is usually the leader of the principal political party, of which he had been elected by an internal vote within that party. He usually has to make a deal with other political parties and/or independently elected TDs (members of parliament). In order to be able to form a government he must essentially have the support of a majority of the 166 elected members of Dáil Éireann. Dáil Éireann is far and away the most important political parliament, and Seanad Éireann was historically created as a means to provide the former colonial Anglo-Irish rulers with a voice in national politics. Only one member of Seanad Éireann has served in an Irish government by virtue of that membership, James Dooge. Elections to the Dáil are held approximately every 5 years (unless called earlier due to a political crisis). Executive power is vested in a cabinet whose ministers are nominated by the Taoiseach and approved by the Dáil.  
  
The bicameral ''[[Oireachtas]]'' (Parliament) consists of [[Seanad Éireann]] (Senate) and the [[Dáil Éireann]] (House of Representatives). The Seanad is composed of 60 members--11 nominated by the [[Taoiseach]], 6 elected by the national universities, and 43 elected from panels of candidates established on a vocational basis. The Seanad has the power to delay legislative proposals and is allowed 90 days to consider and amend bills sent to it by the Dail, which wields greater power in Parliament. The Dáil has 166 members popularly elected to a maximum term of 5 years under a complex system of proportional representation. A member of the Dáil is known as a Teachta Dála, or TD.  
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The bicameral Oireachtas (Parliament) consists of Seanad Éireann (Senate) and Dáil Éireann (House of Representatives). The Seanad is composed of 60 members—11 nominated by the [[Taoiseach]], 6 elected by the national universities, and 43 elected from panels of candidates established on a vocational basis. The Seanad has the power to delay legislative proposals and is allowed 90 days to consider and amend bills sent to it by the Dail, which wields greater power in Parliament. The Dáil has 166 members popularly elected to a maximum term of 5 years under a complex system of proportional representation. A member of the Dáil is known as a Teachta Dala, or TD.  
  
 
Judges are appointed by the president on nomination by the government and can be removed from office only for misbehavior or incapacity and then only by resolution of both houses of Parliament. The ultimate court of appeal is the Supreme Court, consisting of the chief justice and five other justices. The Supreme Court also can decide upon the constitutionality of legislative acts if the president asks for an opinion.  
 
Judges are appointed by the president on nomination by the government and can be removed from office only for misbehavior or incapacity and then only by resolution of both houses of Parliament. The ultimate court of appeal is the Supreme Court, consisting of the chief justice and five other justices. The Supreme Court also can decide upon the constitutionality of legislative acts if the president asks for an opinion.  
  
Local government is by elected county councils and--in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Waterford--by county borough corporations. County councils/corporations in turn select city mayors. In practice, however, authority remains with the central government.  
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Local government is by elected county councils and—in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Waterford—by county borough corporations. County councils/corporations in turn select city mayors. In practice, however, authority remains with the central government.  
  
Irish politics remain dominated by the two political parties that grew out of Ireland's bitter 1922-23 civil war. Fianna Fáil was formed by those who opposed the 1921 treaty that partitioned the island. Although treaty opponents lost the civil war, Fianna Fáil soon became Ireland's largest political party. Fine Gael, representative of the pro-treaty forces, remains the country's second-largest party. Labour, The Green Party and Sinn Féin are the other significant parties.  
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Irish politics was traditionally dominated by the two political parties that grew out of Ireland's bitter 1922-23 civil war: Fianna  Fáil (''Wariers of Destiny'') and Fine Gael (''Tribe of the Gaelic People''). Fianna Fáil was formed by those who opposed the 1921 treaty with the UK that gave Ireland independence but required Ireland to retain links to the UK. Fine Gael was formed by those who supported tht treaty. Although treaty opponents lost the civil war, Fianna Fáil soon became Ireland's largest political party and retained that position until 2011 when it was decimated and Fine Gael emerged as the country's largest party. Labour, Sinn Féin, and the Greens are the other significant parties.  
  
The May 2007 national elections brought the Fianna Fáil party and its leader Bertie Ahern back to power in a coalition government for an unprecedented third five-year term. Coalition members joining Fianna Fáil were the Green Party and the Progressive Democrats. In recent months the Mahon Tribunal has been investigating allegations of corruption against Ahern when he was Minister of Finance in the early 1990s. However, although he survived a vote of no confidence on the issue in September 2007, increasing revelations about his finances led to his resignation in May 2007.  The new [[Taoiseach]] is his former [[Tánaiste]], Brian Cowen. The new minister for Foreign Affairs is [[Mícheál Martin]], who is the minister who introduced Ireland's ban on smoking in public bars, the first such ban by any state in the [[European Union]].  
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Until 2004 Ireland had granted citizenship on the basis of birth on Irish soil. Concerns about immigration and social welfare abuse prompted the government to seek to bring citizenship laws in line with the more restrictive policies prevalent in the rest of Europe, and the 2004 referendum measure passed by a wide majority. Now, persons with non-Irish parents can acquire Irish citizenship at birth only if at least one parent has been resident in Ireland for three years preceding the birth.  
  
Local and European elections took place in June 2004 and saw gains for opposition parties. The election also featured a referendum on citizenship. Until that time, Ireland had granted citizenship on the basis of birth on Irish soil. Concerns about security and social welfare abuse prompted the government to seek to bring citizenship laws in line with the more restrictive policies prevalent in the rest of Europe, and the 2004 referendum measure passed by a wide majority. Now, persons with non-Irish parents can acquire Irish citizenship at birth only if at least one parent has been resident in Ireland for three years preceding the birth.
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===Principal Government Officials===
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*President—Michael D. Higgins
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*Taoiseach (Prime Minister)--Enda Kenny
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*Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister)--Eamon Gilmore
  
In 1993, [[homosexual]]s were given the right to engage in their [[homosexual act|activities]] freely in the country, without fear of legal action. However, the deeply conservative [[Catholic]] roots of the country have produced a strong cultural deterrent to homosexuality, so that impressionable children are not exposed to perversity.
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====Taoisigh (Prime Ministers) of the Republic of Ireland====
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*'''Éamon de Valera''' (Fianna Fáil): 1937-1948, 1951-1954, 1957-1959.
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*'''John A.Costello''' (Fine Gael): 1948-1951, 1954-1957.
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*'''Seán Lemass''' (Fianna Fáil): 1959-1966.
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*'''Jack Lynch''' (Fianna Fáil): 1966-1973, 1977-1979.
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*'''Liam Cosgrave''' (Fine Gael): 1973-1977.
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*'''Charles Haughey''' (Fianna Fáil): 1979-1981, March 1982 - December 82 and March 1987 - February 1992.
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*'''Garret FitzGerald''' (Fine Gael): 30 June 1981- 9 March 1982 and 14 December 1982 - 10 March 1987.
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*'''Albert Reynolds''' (Fianna Fáil): February 1992 – 1994.
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*'''John Bruton''' (Fine Gael): 1994-1997.
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*'''Bertie Ahern''' (Fianna Fáil): 1997-2008.
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*'''Brian Cowen''' (Fianna Fáil): 2008 to 2011.<ref>[http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=349&docID=-1 Government of Ireland website]</ref>
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*'''Enda Kenny''' (Fine Gael): 2011-
  
 
===Political Parties===
 
===Political Parties===
* '''Fianna Fáil''': (Pronounced ''Fee-Na Fall'' which is Irish for 'Soldiers of Destiny'). Ireland's main political party, they do not class themselves as either left or right wing but rather as pragmatic centrists and republicans (In the sense of opposing the notion of formal classes in society, in particular the monarchy. Typically republicans in Ireland seek to unite Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland into a single Republic separate from the United Kingdom.). The party was founded as a splinter from Official Sinn Féin by [[Eamon de Valera]]. Traditionally the party of small farmers and the urban working class community, and generally conservative on social issues. Currently the largest party in the ruling coalition. Led by Brian Cowen, current [[Taoiseach]] of the Republic of Ireland. Fianna Fáil generally opposes any action that would be seen to erode Ireland's neutrality and independence in foreign policy, including joining [[NATO]].<ref>[http://www.fiannafail.ie/]</ref>
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'''Fianna Fail''': (Pronounced Fee-Na Fall which is Irish for 'Wariers of Destiny'). Ireland's 3rd largest political party, they do not class themselves as either left or right wing but are generally considered centrist and traditionally the choice for republicans (in the Irish sense, meaning supporters of a United Ireland) due to its foundation by Eamon de Valera; considered by his supporters to be the greatest of all Irish nationalists. Fianna Fail is traditionally a Populist party, spearheading the disease and slum eradication programme's of the 1950s and 1960s. Nowadays however, it is considered to be on the pragmatic centre as well as supportive of the construction sector and its representatives.<ref>[http://www.fiannafail.ie/]</ref>
* '''Fine Gael''': (Pronounced ''Finna Gale'', Irish for 'tribe of the Irish'). Ireland's second largest party. Fine Gael is traditionally socially and fiscally conservative. Under the leadership of [[Garret FitzGerald]] in the 1980's, the party embraced [[social democracy]]. Today the party likes to characterize itself as a party of the "progressive centre". Led by [[Enda Kenny]]. Many of the party's elected members would like to see Ireland join NATO and at least one has called for Ireland to rejoin the [[British Commonwealth]].<ref>[http://www.finegael.com/index.cfm]</ref>
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* '''Labour Party''': A social democratic left-wing party, similar to the British Labour Party under [[Tony Blair]]. [[Eamon Gilmore]] is the current leader of the Labour Party.<ref>[http://www.labour.ie/]</ref>
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* '''Green Party''': A left-wing party in favor of environmental protection, renewable energy and a stronger system of social security. [[John Gormley]] is the current leader.<ref>[http://www.greenparty.ie/]</ref>
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* '''Sinn Féin''': (Pronounced ''Shin Fane'', Irish for 'Ourselves') Claims to be a remnant of Ireland's oldest political party, it is closely connected with the Provisional [[IRA]], a paramilitary movement that sought the reunification of Ireland under a republican form of government free from British rule. As with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil before it- both parties which originated in Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army's war of indepdencence against Britain- Sinn Féin has sought to achieve its aim through non-violent methods since the 1990s. Sinn Féin is, traditionally, strongly influenced by revolutionary socialist ideals, and are one of Ireland's more liberal parties on issues such as gay marriage and abortion. They organize in all 32 counties of Ireland, and are the largest nationalist party in Northern Ireland today. Led by Gerry Adams. <ref>[http://www.sinnfein.ie/]</ref>
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* '''Socialist Party''': A left-wing Trotskyite party. They oppose capitalism and seek a United Socialist Ireland. Led by Joe Higgins. <ref> [http://www.socialistparty.net/] </ref>
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===Northern Ireland===
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'''Fine Gael''': (Pronounced Finna Gale, Irish for 'Family of the Irish'). Ireland's largest party. Fine Gael is traditionally socially and fiscally conservative. Traditionally the party of Big Business and the farming community, although generally liberal on social issues (though probably not by American standards) Under the leadership of [[Garret FitzGerald]] in the 1980s, the party embraced [[social democracy]]. Today the party likes to characterize itself as a party of the "progressive centre". Led by [[Enda Kenny]].<ref>[http://www.finegael.com/index.cfm]</ref>
Consolidating the peace process in Northern Ireland and encouraging the full implementation of the 1998 [[Belfast Agreement | Good Friday Agreement]] (GFA) and the 2006 St. Andrews Agreement remain U.S. priorities in Ireland.  
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The conflict in Northern Ireland stems from a history of British rule, historical animosity between Catholics and Protestants, and the various armed and political attempts to unite Northern Ireland with the rest of the island. "Nationalist" and "Republican" groups seek a united Ireland, while "Unionists" and "Loyalists" want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. After decades of violence by both Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries, most notably the Irish Republican Army (IRA), the British and Irish governments negotiated an IRA ceasefire in 1994, which was followed by the landmark U.S.-brokered [[Belfast Agreement | Good Friday Agreement]] (GFA) in 1998.  
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'''Labour Party''': Currently the second largest party. The Labour Party has traditionally been the left wing force of Irish politics, though in the recent election under the leadership of a former member of the communist leaning Sinn Féin Workers Party, [[Pat Rabbitte]], the party moved over to the centre in order to join in a possible coalition government with Fine Gael. Although they lost the election, the coalition helped to modernise the party more in line with European Social Democratic Groups. The party is currently led by [[Eamon Gilmore]], a center left politician.<ref>[http://www.labour.ie/]</ref>
  
The GFA established a power-sharing legislative assembly to serve as the autonomous local government of Northern Ireland. The 108-member [[Northern Ireland Assembly]] is led by a first minister and deputy first minister, one from each of the two communities, and a 10-minister executive. The GFA also provided for changes in both the British and Irish constitutions. Ireland ceded territorial claim to Northern Ireland, and the U.K. agreed that Northern Ireland could become part of Ireland if a majority (North and South) so voted in the future. Finally, the GFA provided the blueprint for "normalization," to include the eventual removal of British forces, devolution of police and justice functions, and guarantees of human rights and equal opportunity for all individuals. The agreement was approved in a 1998 referendum by 71% of Northern Ireland voters and 95% of Irish voters.  
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'''Green Party''': A left-wing party and member of the current leading coalition who are in favour of environmental protection, renewable energy and a stronger system of social security. Led by John Gormley, the current minister for the Environment.
  
The major political parties in Northern Ireland are:
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'''Sinn Féin''': (Pronounced Shin Fane, Irish for 'Ourselves') Remnant of Ireland's oldest political party, it is closely connected with the Provisional [[IRA]], a terrorist/guerrilla movement that sought a United Irish Republic that have since disbanded. They have recently embraced a more democratic approach. They are a party of left-wing socialist economics which espouses liberal social issues such as same-sex "marriage". They organise in all 32 counties of Ireland. Led by former IRA commander Gerry Adams.<ref>[http://www.sinnfein.ie/]</ref>
* '''Democratic Unionist Party''' (DUP): Currently the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland. The DUP is a right-wing, ultra-conservative, hardline unionist party currently led by its founder, the Reverend Doctor Ian RK Paisley. The party has strong links with Rev. Doc. Paisley's Free Presbyterian Church. <ref>[http://www.dup.org.uk/]</ref>
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* '''Sinn Féin''' Currently the largest nationalist party in Northern Ireland, they sit in the Irish parliament and [[Northern Ireland Assembly]], but refuse to take their seats in the British Parliament in Westminster.
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* '''Ulster Unionist Party''' (UUP): A moderate right-wing party, which had strong links with the British Conservative Party. Nobel Peace Prize laureate David Trimble is a former leader. Currently in decline, with voters turning to the DUP. Currently led by Sir Reg Empey. <ref> [http://www.uup.org/]</ref>
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* '''Social Democratic and Labour Party''' (SDLP): A left-wing nationalist party. Nobel Peace Prize laureate John Hume is a former leader. The SDLP were the largest nationalist party until recently, when they were overtaken by Sinn Féin. Unlike SF, the SDLP have always advocated a non-violent and constitutional approach to achieving a United Ireland. Current leader is Mark Durkan. <ref>[http://www.sdlp.ie/]</ref>
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* '''Alliance Party''': The Alliance party identifies as neither unionist or nationalist and thus receives support from both communities. The current leader is David Ford. <ref>[http://www.allianceparty.org/]</ref>  
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In October 2002, the British Government suspended (for the fourth time) the Assembly, following a breakdown in trust between Unionists and Republicans. The British and Irish Governments began discussions with the parties to try to resolve longstanding unresolved differences between the communities, and to secure a commitment from Sinn Fein that Republicans would divest themselves of all paramilitary activities and capabilities. Efforts to restore the political process in time to stage new elections to the Assembly in May 2003 broke down when the two governments concluded they did not have sufficient assurances from the Republicans. However, the governments proceeded to publish a joint declaration, mapping out the timetable to full implementation of the GFA. The governments also created an International Monitoring Commission to serve as a forum to hear complaints of alleged breaches of GFA commitments by the political parties and/or by British authorities. The four-member commission includes a representative from the United States.  
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===Foreign Relations===
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Ireland is a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the European Union. Ireland has been an important contributor to numerous international peacekeeping missions, such as in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Liberia (UNIMIL), and the Balkans (KFOR and EUFOR). Ireland's overseas development assistance focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa and stands at 5 percent of GDP.
  
Beginning in 2005, there were significant steps to reinvigorate the peace process. In July 2005, the IRA unilaterally announced that it would end its "armed struggle" and rely upon solely peaceful and democratic means to achieve its political objectives. The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) confirmed in September 2005 that the IRA had effectively put its weapons "beyond use." A series of reports by the International Monitoring Commission also noted significant progress by the IRA in its move away from criminality. Following upon this momentum, the British and Irish Governments in April 2006 launched a new negotiation process that envisioned the restoration of the Assembly and the selection of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister by year's end.  
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===Relations with the United States===
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U.S. relations with Ireland have long been based on common ancestral ties and shared values. These relations have broadened and matured, given the significant U.S. role in Ireland's economic success and cooperation on global challenges. Besides regular dialogue on political and economic issues, the U.S. and Irish Governments have official exchanges in areas such as medical research and education.  
  
This process led to a summit at St. Andrews, Scotland, in October 2006, brokered by the then [[Taoiseach]], Bertie Ahern, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, which achieved agreement between [[Sinn Féin]] and the [[DUP]] on the process for restoring power to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Elections for the Assembly took place on March 7, 2007, which led to the restoration of the [[Northern Ireland Assembly]] on May 8, 2007. DUP leader Rev.Doc.[[Ian Paisley]] was elected First Minister, while Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness became Deputy First Minister. Two breakthroughs enabled this historic agreement to proceed: Sinn Fein's decision at an extraordinary Ard Fheis ("AR-desh," party conference) on January 28 to endorse policing and justice; and the DUP's decision to contest the March 7 election, signaling that the party would agree to share power with Sinn Fein in a restored Assembly. In the meantime, both the British and Irish Governments have offered significant new financial packages for the new Assembly.  
+
With Ireland's membership in the European Union, the discussion of EU trade and economic policies, as well as other aspects of EU policy, is also a key element in the U.S.-Irish relationship. In recent years, Ireland has attempted to act as a diplomatic bridge between the United States and European Union. During its 2004 EU presidency, Ireland worked to strengthen U.S.-EU ties that had been strained by the Iraq war, and the current EU Ambassador to the United States is former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton.  
  
The Special Envoy for the Northern Ireland Peace Process is Paula Dobriansky, who coordinates with the U.S. Missions in London, Belfast and Dublin to reinforce the views of the British and Irish Governments that the newly restored [[Northern Ireland Assembly]] must govern effectively in order to achieve economic growth and community reconciliation in Northern Ireland.  
+
Emigration, long a vital element in the U.S.-Irish relationship, declined significantly with Ireland's economic boom in the 1990s. For the first time in its modern history, Ireland is experiencing high levels of inward migration, a phenomenon with political, economic, and social consequences. However, Irish citizens do continue the common practice of taking temporary residence overseas for work or study, mainly in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere in Europe, before returning to establish careers in Ireland. The U.S. J-1 visa program, for example, remains a popular means for Irish youths to work temporarily in the United States.
 
+
The United States also continues to provide funding ($13.5 million in 2007) for projects administered under the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), created in 1986 to generate economic opportunity and cross-community engagement in the border areas, both North and South. Since the IFI's establishment, the U.S. Government has contributed over $482 million, roughly half of total IFI funding.
+
 
+
===Principal Government Officials===
+
*[[Uachtaráin]] (President)--Mary McAleese
+
*[[Taoiseach]]--[[Brian Cowen]]
+
*[[Tánaiste]]  and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment--[[Mary Coughlan (politician)]]
+
*Ambassador to the United States--Michael Collins
+
 
+
=== Northern Ireland ===
+
*[[Queen]]--[[Elizabeth II]]
+
*[[Prime Minister]]--[[David Cameron]]
+
*[[First Minister]]--[[Peter Robinson]]
+
*[[deputy First Minister]]--[[Martin McGuinness]]
+
 
+
===Foreign Relations===
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Ireland is a member of numerous international organizations, including the [[United Nations]], the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the [[European Union]]. Ireland has been an important contributor to numerous international peacekeeping missions, such as in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Liberia (UNIMIL), and the Balkans (KFOR and EUFOR). Ireland's overseas development assistance focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa and stands at 5 percent of GDP.
+
  
 
==Economy==
 
==Economy==
Ireland boasts a vibrant, globalized economy, with GDP per capita second only to Luxembourg's in the EU. The "Celtic Tiger" period of the mid to late 1990s saw several years of double-digit GDP growth, driven by a progressive industrial policy that boosted large-scale foreign direct investment and exports. GDP growth dipped during the immediate post-9/11 global economic slowdown, but has averaged roughly 5 percent yearly since 2004, the best performance for this period among the original EU 15 Member States. Since 2004, the Irish economy has generated roughly 90,000 new jobs annually, attracting over 200,000 foreign workers, mostly from the new EU Member states, in an unprecedented immigration influx. The construction sector has accounted for approximately one-quarter of these jobs, and economists caution that any slowdown in Ireland's vibrant housing market would have ramifications for continued GDP growth.  
+
Ireland once boasted a vibrant, globalized economy, with GDP per capita second only to Luxembourg's in the EU. The "Celtic Tiger" period of the mid to late 1990s saw several years of double-digit GDP growth, driven by a progressive industrial policy that boosted large-scale foreign direct investment and exports. GDP growth dipped during the immediate post-9/11 global economic slowdown, but has averaged roughly 5 percent yearly since 2004, the best performance for this period among the original EU 15 Member States. Since 2004, the Irish economy has generated roughly 90,000 new jobs annually, attracting over 200,000 foreign workers, mostly from the new EU Member states, in an unprecedented immigration influx. The construction sector has accounted for approximately one-quarter of these jobs, and economists caution that any slowdown in Ireland's vibrant housing market would have ramifications for continued GDP growth.  
  
 
Economic and trade ties are an important facet of overall U.S.-Irish relations. In 2005, U.S. exports to Ireland were valued at $9 billion, while Irish exports to the U.S. totaled $28 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The range of U.S. exports includes electrical components and equipment, computers and peripherals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and livestock feed. Irish exports to the United States represent approximately 20% of all Irish exports, and have roughly the same value as Irish exports to the UK (inclusive of Northern Ireland). Exports to the United States include alcoholic beverages, chemicals and related products, electronic data processing equipment, electrical machinery, textiles and clothing, and glassware. According to Ireland's Central Statistical Office, Irish exports to the United States from January to September 2006 rose by 7% compared to the same period in 2005, while Irish imports from the United States from January to September 2006 fell by 14% compared to the same period in 2005.  
 
Economic and trade ties are an important facet of overall U.S.-Irish relations. In 2005, U.S. exports to Ireland were valued at $9 billion, while Irish exports to the U.S. totaled $28 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The range of U.S. exports includes electrical components and equipment, computers and peripherals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and livestock feed. Irish exports to the United States represent approximately 20% of all Irish exports, and have roughly the same value as Irish exports to the UK (inclusive of Northern Ireland). Exports to the United States include alcoholic beverages, chemicals and related products, electronic data processing equipment, electrical machinery, textiles and clothing, and glassware. According to Ireland's Central Statistical Office, Irish exports to the United States from January to September 2006 rose by 7% compared to the same period in 2005, while Irish imports from the United States from January to September 2006 fell by 14% compared to the same period in 2005.  
Line 123: Line 115:
  
 
Many U.S. businesses find Ireland an attractive location to manufacture for the EU market, since it is inside the EU customs area and uses the euro. In 2005, U.S. firms accounted for 61% of Ireland's total exports of euro 89 billion. Other reasons for Ireland's attractiveness include: a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate for domestic and foreign firms; the quality and flexibility of the English-speaking work force; cooperative labor relations; political stability; pro-business government policies; a transparent judicial system; strong intellectual property protection; and, the pulling power of existing companies operating successfully (a "clustering" effect). Factors that negatively affect Ireland's ability to attract investment include: increasing labor and energy costs (especially when compared to low-cost countries in Eastern Europe and Asia), skilled labor shortages, inadequate infrastructure (such as in the transportation and internet/broadband sectors), and price levels that are ranked among the highest in Europe.
 
Many U.S. businesses find Ireland an attractive location to manufacture for the EU market, since it is inside the EU customs area and uses the euro. In 2005, U.S. firms accounted for 61% of Ireland's total exports of euro 89 billion. Other reasons for Ireland's attractiveness include: a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate for domestic and foreign firms; the quality and flexibility of the English-speaking work force; cooperative labor relations; political stability; pro-business government policies; a transparent judicial system; strong intellectual property protection; and, the pulling power of existing companies operating successfully (a "clustering" effect). Factors that negatively affect Ireland's ability to attract investment include: increasing labor and energy costs (especially when compared to low-cost countries in Eastern Europe and Asia), skilled labor shortages, inadequate infrastructure (such as in the transportation and internet/broadband sectors), and price levels that are ranked among the highest in Europe.
 +
*Nominal GDP (2009): $204.144 billion.
 +
*Real GDP growth (2011): 2.8% (Q1 2011).
 +
*Nominal GDP per capita (2009): $45,642.
 +
*Natural resources: Zinc, lead, natural gas, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, peat.
 +
*Agriculture (5% of GDP): Products—cattle, meat, and dairy products; potatoes; barley; hay; silage; wheat.
 +
*Industry (46% of GDP): Types—food processing, beverages, engineering, computer equipment, textiles and clothing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, construction.
 +
*Trade (2006): Exports--$119.8 billion (excluding services): machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, food, live animals, manufactured materials, beverages. Imports--$87.4 billion (excluding services): grains, petroleum products, machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, textile yarns. Major suppliers-Great Britain and Northern Ireland 31%, U.S. 11%, Germany 8%, China 7%, Japan 4%, France 3%, rest of the world (including other EU Member States) 36%.
 +
 +
Ireland was badly hit by the 2008 financial crisis, resulting in the collapse of the property [[economic bubble|bubble]].
  
 
==History==
 
==History==
{{Main|History of Ireland}}
+
The earliest inhabitants—people of a mid-Stone Age culture—arrived about 6000 BC. About 4,000 years later, tribes from southern Europe arrived and established a high Neolithic culture, leaving behind gold ornaments and huge stone monuments. The Bronze Age people, who arrived during the next 1,000 years, produced elaborate gold and bronze ornaments and weapons.  
===Early History===
+
The earliest inhabitants--people of a mid-Stone Age culture--arrived about 6000 BC. About 4,000 years later, tribes from southern Europe arrived and established a high Neolithic culture, leaving behind gold ornaments and huge stone monuments. The [[Bronze Age]] people, who arrived during the next 1,000 years, produced elaborate gold and bronze ornaments and weapons.  
+
  
The [[Iron Age]] arrived abruptly in the fourth century BC with the invasion of the Celts, a tall, energetic people who had spread across Europe and Great Britain in the preceding centuries. The Celts, or Gaels, and their more numerous predecessors divided into five kingdoms in which, despite constant strife, a rich culture flourished.  
+
The Iron Age arrived abruptly in the fourth century BC with the invasion of the Celts, a tall, energetic people who had spread across Europe and Great Britain in the preceding centuries. The Celts, or Gaels, and their more numerous predecessors divided into five kingdoms in which, despite constant strife, a rich culture flourished.  
  
===Early Christian Ireland===
+
The coming of Christianity from across the Irish Sea brought major changes and civilizing influences. Tradition maintains that St. Patrick arrived on the island in AD 432 and, in the years that followed, worked to convert the Irish to Christianity.  
The coming of Christianity from across the Irish Sea brought major changes and civilizing influences. Ireland's first bishop, Palladius, arrived from [[France]] around 431 AD, evidence that Christianity had already arrived due to trading or other outside contacts.  St. Patrick's mission most likely took place later, in the mid-to-late 5th century AD.  Modern scholarship has discovered that many dates and facts attributed previously to Saint Patrick were likely the work of Palladius, and that the two had become blended into a single figure in the historical record.  
+
  
The pagan druid tradition collapsed before the spread of the new faith, and Irish scholars excelled in the study of Latin learning and Christian theology in the monasteries that flourished. Missionaries went forth from Ireland to England and the continent, spreading news of the flowering of learning, and scholars from other nations came to Irish monasteries. The excellence and isolation of these monasteries helped preserve Latin and Greek learning during the Dark Ages. The arts of manuscript illumination, metalworking, and sculpture flourished and produced such treasures as the Book of Kells, ornate jewelry, and the many carved stone crosses that dot the island.  
+
The pagan druid tradition collapsed before the spread of the new faith, and Irish scholars excelled in the study of Latin learning and Christian theology in the monasteries that flourished. Missionaries went forth from Ireland to Great Britain and the continent, spreading news of the flowering of learning, and scholars from other nations came to Irish monasteries. The excellence and isolation of these monasteries helped preserve Latin and Greek learning during the Dark Ages. The arts of manuscript illumination, metalworking, and sculpture flourished and produced such treasures as the Book of Kells, ornate jewelry, and the many carved stone crosses that dot the island.  
  
===Medieval Ireland===
+
Two hundred years of Viking invasion and settlement was later followed by a Norman conquest in the 12th century. The Norman conquest resulted in the assimilation of the Norman settlers into Irish society. The early 17th century saw the arrival of Scottish and English Protestants, sent as colonists to the north of Ireland and the Pale around Dublin.  
At the end of the 8th Century, Norse and Danish raiders (commonly called [[Vikings]]) began to appear on Ireland's shores (as they were appearing in much of Europe at the same time). Several waves of attacks followed. The first were small, quick raids by small groups of boats on outlying areas (coastal settlements, islands off the coast, etc).  Later raiding parties grew much larger, and began making inroads into the island.  Eventually, the raiders began to build longphorts in Ireland, which were the first towns.  Among these were Dublin, Waterford, and Wexford.  The Vikings eventually became integrated into Irish politics and culture, and had major effects on many aspects of Irish life.
+
  
In the 12th century, Norman lords invaded Ireland at the behest of Diarmait MacMurrough who wanted their help to regain land that he had lost. While they quickly spread across most of the island, their conquest was incomplete. The Native Irish later began to retake much of the land that was lost and many Normans began to adopt Gaelic culture, which made the island very difficult to govern from England. The English were unable to bring the entire island under their control until the 17th century, after the defeat of the Irish in the Nine Years War. King James I of England (King James VI of Scotland) decided to plant Ulster, in the North of Ireland, with English and Scottish Protestant settlers, in an attempt to prevent future rebellions.<ref>[http://www.hoganstand.com/general/Identity/stories/ulster.htm]</ref>
+
In 1800 the Irish Parliament passed the Act of Union with Great Britain, and Ireland was an official part of the United Kingdom until 1921. Religious freedom, outlawed in the 18th century, was restored in 1829, but this victory for the Irish Catholic majority was overshadowed by a severe economic depression and the great famine from 1846-48 when the potato crop failed. Millions died, and the millions that emigrated spawned the first mass wave of Irish emigration to the United States. A decade later, in 1858, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB—also known as the Fenians) was founded as a secret society dedicated to armed rebellion against the British. An aboveground political counterpart, the Home Rule Movement, was created in 1874, advocating constitutional change for independence.  
  
===Modern Ireland===
+
Galvanized by the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell, the party was able to force British governments after 1885 to introduce several home rule bills. The turn of the century witnessed a surge of interest in Irish nationalism, including the founding of Sinn Féin ("Ourselves Alone") as an open political movement.  
[[File:Irish countryside.jpg|300px|right]]
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In 1690, the Catholic King James II and his Irish allies were defeated by the Protestant William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne. This defeat ushered in an era of Protestant dominance in Ireland. A series of regulations limiting the status of the Catholic majority were passed between 1691 and 1760, known as the Penal Laws. These laws also discriminated against Presbyterians and other dissenting Protestants, who along with Catholics were forced to pay tithes to the Anglican Church.<ref>[http://www.risingroadtours.com/a7_penallaws.htm]</ref> <ref>[http://prorev.com/irish.htm]</ref>
+
  
In 1800 the Irish Parliament passed the Act of Union with Great Britain, and Ireland was an official part of the United Kingdom until 1921. Religious freedom, outlawed in the 18th century, was restored in 1829, but this victory for the Irish Catholic majority was overshadowed by a severe economic depression and the great famine from 1846-48 when the potato crop failed. Millions died, and the millions that emigrated spawned the first mass wave of Irish emigration to the United States. A decade later, in 1858, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB--also known as the Fenians) was founded as a secret society dedicated to armed rebellion against the British. An aboveground political counterpart, the [[Home Rule]] Movement, was created in 1874, advocating constitutional change for independence.  
+
Nationalism was and is a potent populist force in Irish politics. A home rule bill passed in 1914, but its implementation was suspended until war in Europe ended. Believing the mantra: "England's problem is Ireland's opportunity," and tapping into a mood of Gaelic revivalism, Padraic Pearse and James Connolly led the unsuccessful Easter Rising of 1916. Pearse and the other 1916 leaders declared an independent Irish republic, but a lack of popular support doomed the rebellion, which lasted a week and destroyed large portions of Dublin. The decision by the British military government to execute the leaders of the rebellion, coupled with the British Government's threat of conscripting the Irish to fight in the Great War, alienated public opinion and produced massive support for Sinn Féin in the 1918 general election. Under the leadership of Eamon de Valera, the elected Sinn Féin deputies constituted themselves as the first Dail. Tensions only increased: British attempts to smash Sinn Féin ignited the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921.  
  
Galvanized by the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell, the party was able to force British governments after 1885 to introduce several home rule bills. The turn of the century witnessed a surge of interest in Irish nationalism, including the founding of Sinn Fein ("Ourselves Alone") as an open political movement.  
+
The end of the war brought the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State of 26 counties within the [[Commonwealth of Nations|British Commonwealth]] and recognized the partition of the island into Ireland and Northern Ireland, though supposedly as a temporary measure. The six predominantly Protestant counties of northeast Ulster—Northern Ireland—remained a part of the United Kingdom with limited self-government. A significant Irish minority repudiated the treaty settlement because of the continuance of subordinate ties to the British monarch and the partition of the island. This opposition led to further hostilities—a civil war (1922–23), which was won by the pro-treaty forces.  
  
Nationalism was and is a potent populist force in Irish politics. A home rule bill passed in 1914, but its implementation was suspended until war in Europe ended. Believing the mantra: "England's problem is Ireland's opportunity," and tapping into a mood of Gaelic revivalism, Padraic Pearse and James Connolly led the unsuccessful Easter Rising of 1916. Pearse and the other 1916 leaders declared an independent Irish republic, but a lack of popular support doomed the rebellion, which lasted a week and resulted in the British military destroying large portions of Dublin. The decision by the British military government to execute the leaders of the rebellion, coupled with the British Government's threat of conscripting the Irish to fight in the Great War, alienated public opinion and produced massive support for Sinn Fein in the 1918 general election. Under the leadership of Eamon de Valera, the elected Sinn Fein deputies constituted themselves as the first Dail. Tensions only increased: British attempts to smash Sinn Fein ignited the Irish War of Independence of 1919-1921.  
+
In 1932, Eamon de Valera, the political leader of the forces initially opposed to the treaty, became Prime Minister, and a new Irish constitution was enacted in 1937. The last British military bases were soon withdrawn, and the ports were returned to Irish control. Ireland was neutral in World War II. The government formally declared Ireland a republic in 1948; however, it does not normally use the term "Republic of Ireland," which tacitly acknowledges the partition, but refers to the country simply as "Ireland."
  
The end of the war brought the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State of 26 counties within the British Commonwealth and recognized the partition of the island into Ireland and Northern Ireland, though supposedly as a temporary measure. The four predominantly unionist counties (Antrim, Down, Armagh and Derry/Londonderry (disputed)) plus the two equally unionist/nationalist counties (Tyrone and Fermanagh) of northeast Ulster--Northern Ireland--remained a part of the United Kingdom with limited self-government. A significant Irish minority repudiated the treaty settlement because of the continuance of subordinate ties to the British monarch and the partition of the island. This opposition led to further hostilities--the Irish Civil War (1922-23), which was won by the pro-treaty forces.  
+
==Bibliography==
 +
*  Brady, Ciaran, ed.  ''The Encyclopedia of Ireland: An A-Z Guide to Its People, Places, History, and Culture.'' (2000). 390 pp. 
 +
* Foster, R. F., ed. ''The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland.'' (1989). 382 pp. 
 +
* Ruckenstein, Lelia and O'Malley, James A.  ''Everything Irish: The History, Literature, Art, Music, People, and Places of Ireland from A-Z.'' (2003). 496 pp. 
 +
* ''[[OECD]] Information Technology Outlook 2004''
 +
* Lalor, Brian, ed. ''The Encyclopedia of Ireland'' (Gill & Macmillan, 2003) (ISBN 9780717130009)
 +
===Historical surveys and reference books===
 +
* Bottigheimer, Karl S.  ''Ireland and the Irish: A Short History.'' (1982). 301 pp. 
 +
*  Canny, Nicholas. ''From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534-1660'' (Dublin, 1987)
 +
*  Connolly, S. J.  ed. ''The Oxford Companion to Irish History'' (1998) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=74356275 online edition]
 +
*  Cosgrove, Art. ed., ''A New History of Ireland, ii: Medieval Ireland, 1169-1534'' (1987). 982 pp. 
 +
*  Donnelly, James S., ed.  ''Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture.'' (2004). 1084 pp. 
 +
* Edwards, Ruth Dudley.  ''An Atlas of Irish History.'' 2d ed. (1981). 286 pp. 
 +
*  Ellis, Steven G. ''Ireland in the Age of the Tudors 1447-1603. English Expansion and the End of Gaelic Rule'' (1998)
 +
* Fleming, N. C. and O'Day, Alan.  ''The Longman Handbook of Modern Irish History since 1800.'' 2005. 808 pp. 
 +
*  Foster, R. F. ''Modern Ireland, 1600-1972'' (1988)
 +
* Foster, R. F., ed. ''The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland.'' (1989). 382 pp. 
 +
* Fry, Peter and Fry, Fiona Somerset.  ''A History of Ireland.'' Routledge, 1989. 366 pp.
 +
* Hachey, Thomas E., Joseph M. Hernon Jr., Lawrence J. McCaffrey; ''The Irish Experience: A Concise History'' M. E. Sharpe, 1996 [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=3955678 online edition] 
 +
* Hickey, D. J. and Doherty, J. E.  ''A Dictionary of Irish History since 1800.'' Barnes & Noble, 1980. 615 pp. 
 +
*  Jackson, Alvin. ''Ireland: 1798-1998'' (1999)
 +
* Johnson, Paul.  ''Ireland: Land of Troubles: A History from the Twelfth Century to the Present Day.'' (1982). 224 pp.  by a conservative historian
 +
*  Lee, J. J. ''Ireland 1912-1985'' (1989)
 +
*  Lecky, W. E. H. ''A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century,''  5 vols. (1892) [http://books.google.com/books?id=JRswAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA8&dq=intitle:history+intitle:ireland+inauthor:Lecky+date:1800-1923&num=30&as_brr=1#PPP9,M1 vol 3 online]
 +
* Moody, T. W. and Vaughan, W. E., eds.  ''A New History of Ireland. Vol. 4: Eighteenth-Century Ireland, 1691-1800.'' (1986). 849 pp. 
 +
* Moody, T. W.; Martin, F. X.; and Byrne, F. J., eds.  ''A New History of Ireland. Vol. 8: A Chronology of Irish History to 1976: A Companion to Irish History, Part 1.'' (1982). 591 pp
 +
*  Moody, T. W.; Martin, F. X.; and Byrne, F. J., eds.  ''A New History of Ireland. Vol. 9: Maps, Genealogies, Lists. A Companion to Irish History, Part 2.'' (1984). 
 +
* Newman, Peter R.  ''Companion to Irish History, 1603-1921: From the Submission of Tyrone to Partition.'' (1991). 256 pp basic summary
 +
*  Ranelagh, John O'Beirne.  ''A Short History of Ireland.'' (1983). 272 pp. 
 +
* Ranelagh, John.  ''Ireland: An Illustrated History. ''  (1981). 267 pp. 
 +
* Vaughan, W. E., ed.  ''A New History of Ireland. Vol. 5: Ireland under the Union, I, 1801-70.'' (1990). 839 pp. 
 +
* Vaughan, W. E., ed.  ''A New History of Ireland. Vol. 6: Ireland under the Union. Part 2: 1870-1921.'' (1996). 957 pp.
 +
  
In 1932, Eamon de Valera, the political leader of the forces initially opposed to the treaty, became Prime Minister, and a new Irish constitution was enacted in 1937. The last British military bases were soon withdrawn, and the ports were returned to Irish control. Ireland was neutral in World War II. The government formally declared Ireland a republic in 1948; however, it does not normally use the term "Republic of Ireland," which tacitly acknowledges the partition, but refers to the country simply as "Ireland."
+
===Specialized studies===
 +
*  Bartlett, Thomas and Keith Jeffrey, eds. ''A Military History of Ireland'' (1996)
 +
*  Boyce, D. George and Alan O’day. ''The Making of Modern Irish History: Revisionism and the Revisionist Controversy'' 1996 [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=103075467 online edition]
 +
*  Cosgrove, Art. "The Writing of Irish Medieval History", I.H.S., xxvii (1990), 97-111
 +
*  Cullen, L. M. ''The Emergence of Modern Ireland, 1600-1900'' (Dublin, 1981)
 +
* Cunliffe, Barry et al., ed.  ''The Penguin Atlas of British and Irish History.'' 320 pp. 
 +
* Daly, Mary E. "The Irish Free State/ Éire/ Republic of Ireland/ Ireland: 'A Country by Any Other Name'?"  ''Journal of British Studies'' 2007 46(1): 72-90. Issn: 0021-9371 Fulltext: [[Ebsco]]
 +
*  de Paor, Liam. ''The Peoples of Ireland. From Pre-History to Modern Times'' (London, 1986)
 +
*  Donnelly, J. S.. Jr., and Kerby A. Miller, eds. ''Irish Popular Culture'' (Dublin, 1999)
 +
* Foster, John Wilson and Chesney, Helena C. G., eds. ''Nature in Ireland: A Scientific and Cultural History.'' (Dublin: 1998). 658 pp
 +
* Graham, B. J. and L. J. Proudfoot, eds. ''An Historical Geography of Ireland''(1993)
 +
*  Hayes, Alan and Urquhart, Diane, eds. ''Irish Women's History.'' (Dublin, 2004). 240 pp. 
 +
*  Hill, Jacqueline R. "Popery and Protestantism, Civil and Religious Liberty: The Disputed Lessons of Irish History 1690-1812", ''Past and Present,'' 118 (1988), 96-129 [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0031-2746(198802)118%3C96%3APAPCAR%3E2.0.CO%3B2-N fulltext in JSTOR]
 +
*  Kinealy, Christine. ''The Great Calamity: The Irish Famine, 1845-52'' (Dublin, 1994)
 +
* Kreilkamp, Vera, ed. ''Eire/Land'' (2003), environmental history
 +
* Luddy, Maria.  ''Women in Ireland, 1800-1918: A Documentary History. '' (1995). 356 pp.  primary sources
 +
* Mokyr, Joel.  ''Why Ireland Starved: A Quantitative and Analytical History of the Irish Economy, 1800-1850.'' Allen & Unwin, 1983. 330 pp.  [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=86069007 online edition]
 +
* ÓGráda, Cormac.  ''Ireland: A New Economic History, 1780-1939.'' (1994). 536 pp. 
 +
*  ÓGráda, Cormac.  ''Black '47 and Beyond: The Great Irish Famine in History, Economy, and Memory.'' (1999). 272 pp. 
 +
* Alan J. Ward, ''The Irish Constitutional Tradition: Responsible Government and Modern Ireland 1782&ndash;1992'' (Irish Academic Press, 1994) (ISBN 0-7165-2528-3)
  
====Premiers of the Republic of Ireland====
+
===Ulster===
President of the Executive Council
+
*  Adamson, Ian. ''The Identity of Ulster,'' 2nd edition (Belfast, 1987)
 +
*  Jonathan Bardon, A History of Ulster (Belfast, 1992.)
 +
*  Bew, Paul, Peter Gibbon and Henry Patterson, ''Northern Ireland 1921-1994: Political Forces and Social Classes'' (1995)
 +
*  Claran Brady, Mary O'Dowd and Brian Walker, eds. ''Ulster: An Illustrated History'' (1989)
 +
*  Patrick Buckland, ''A History of Northern Ireland'' (Dublin, 1981)
 +
* Elliott, Marianne. ''The Catholics of Ulster: A History.'' Basic Books. 2001. [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=86066470# online edition]
 +
*  Farrell, Michael. ''Northern Ireland: The Orange State,'' 2nd edition (London, 1980)
 +
* Henessy, Thomas.  ''A History of Northern Ireland, 1920-1996.'' (1998). 365 pp. 
  
* '''William Thomas Cosgrave''' (Cummann na nGaedheal): 1922-1932.
+
===Culture===
* '''Éamon de Valera''' (Fianna Fáil): 1932-1937
+
* Brown, Terence.  ''Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922 to the Present.'' (1985). 310 pp. 
 +
*  Cahalan, James M.  ''The Irish Novel: A Critical History.'' (1988). 365 pp. 
 +
* Cleary, Joe and Connolly, Claire, eds.  ''The Cambridge Guide to Modern Irish Culture.'' (2005). 363 pp. 
 +
* Deane, Seamus.  ''A Short History of Irish Literature.'' (1986). 282 pp. 
 +
* Duddy, Thomas. ''A History of Irish Thought'' Routledge, 2002 [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=108437504 online edition]
 +
* Flynn, Arthur.  ''The Story of Irish Film.'' (Blackrock, Ireland: Currach, 2006). 328 pp. 
 +
* Gonzalez, Alexander G. ''Modern Irish Writers: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook'' (1997)  [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=14156161 online edition]
 +
* Kiberd, Declan.  ''The Irish Writer and the World.'' (2005). 331 pp. 
 +
* McHugh, Roger and Harmon, Maurice.  ''Short History of Anglo-Irish Literature from Its Origins to the Present Day.'' (1982). 377 pp. 
 +
* Mercier, Vivian, and Eilís Dillon. ''Modern Irish Literature: Sources and Founders''  (1994) [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=34130284 online edition]
 +
*  Morash, Christopher.  ''A History of Irish Theatre, 1601-2000.'' (2002) 322 pp. 
 +
*  Murphy, James H.  ''Ireland: A Social, Cultural and Literary History, 1791-1891.'' (Blackrock, Ireland: Four Courts Press, 2003), 224 pp. 
 +
* ÓhÓgáin, Dáithí.  ''The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopedia of Myth, Legend, and Romance.'' (2006). 531 pp.
 +
*  Pierce, David.  ''Light, Freedom, and Song: A Cultural History of Modern Irish Writing.'' (2006). 350 pp.
 +
* Yeats, W. B. ''A Book of Irish Verse'' (2002), primary sources  [http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=109474100 online edition]
  
An Taoiseach
+
==References==
* '''Éamon de Valera''' (Fianna Fáil): 1937-1948, 1951-1954, 1957-1959.
+
{{Reflist}}
* '''John A.Costello''' (Fine Gael): 1948-1951, 1954-1957.
+
* '''Seán Lemass''' (Fianna Fáil): 1959-1966.
+
* '''Jack Lynch''' (Fianna Fáil): 1966-1973.
+
* '''Liam Cosgrave''' (Fine Gael): 1973-1977.
+
* '''Jack Lynch''' (Fianna Fáil): 1977-1979.
+
* '''Charles Haughey''' (Fianna Fáil): 1979-1981, March 1982 - December 82 and March 1987 - February 1992.
+
* '''Garret FitzGerald''' (Fine Gael): 30 June 1981- 9 March 1982 and 14 December 1982 - 10 March 1987.
+
* '''Albert Reynolds''' (Fianna Fáil): February 1992-1994.
+
* '''John Bruton''' (Fine Gael): 1994-1997.
+
* '''Bertie Ahern''' (Fianna Fáil): 1997-2008.
+
* '''Brian Cowen''' (Fianna Fáil): 2008- <ref> [http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/index.asp?locID=349&docID=-1] </ref>
+
  
====Premiers of Northern Ireland====
+
{| style="width: 100%; background:transparent; border: 2px solid #000099;" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="1"
Prime Minster of Northern Ireland (1921-1972)
+
!colspan=2 style="width: 100%; text-align: center; background-color: #000088; color: white; "|'''Copyright Details'''
*''Government of Ireland Act''
+
|-
* '''Sir James Craig''' (UUP): 1921-1940
+
!style="background-color: #000088; color:white;"|License:
* '''John Miller Andrews''' (UUP): 1940-1943
+
|style=" background-color: none;"| <small>This work is in the [[Public Domain]] in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the U.S. Code</small>
* '''Sir Basil Brooke''' (UUP): 1943-1963
+
|-
* '''Terence O'Neill''' (UUP): 1963-1969
+
!style=" background-color: #000088; color:white;"|Source:
* '''Brian Faulkner''' (UUP): 1969-1972
+
|style="background-color: none;border-top: 2px solid black"| <small>File available from the {{{1|[[United States Federal Government]] [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3180.htm]</small>}}}.
*''Post abolished in 1972.''
+
|}
 
+
Chief Executive of Northern Ireland (1973–1974)
+
*''Sunningdale Agreement''
+
* '''Brian Faulkner''' (UUP) 1973–1974
+
*''Post abolished in 1972.''
+
 
+
First Minister of Northern Ireland (1998-present)
+
*''Belfast Agreement''
+
* '''David Trimble''' (UUP) 1998-July 2001, November 2001-October 2002
+
* '''Sir Reg Empey''' (UUP) (Acting): July 2001-October 2001
+
* ''Executive abolished''
+
*''St Andrews Agreement''
+
* '''Rev Dr Ian Paisley''' (DUP)/'''Martin McGuinness''' (Sinn Féin) 2007-present
+
<ref>[http://www.worldstatesmen.org/United_Kingdom.html#Northern]</ref>
+
 
+
==References==
+
{{reflist|2}}
+
  
{{European Union}}
 
  
 
[[Category:European Countries]]
 
[[Category:European Countries]]
 
[[Category:Ireland]]
 
[[Category:Ireland]]
[[Category:United Kingdom]]
+
[[Category:Christian-Majority Countries]]
[[Category:Islands]]
+

Latest revision as of 07:56, 17 June 2017

Ireland
Ireland.jpg
Ireland location.png
Flag of Ireland.png
Ireland arms.png
Flag Coat of Arms
Capital Dublin
Government Republic and Parliamentary Democracy
Language Irish and English (official)
President Michael D. Higgins
Prime minister Enda Kenny
Area 27,133 sq mi
Population 2016 4,757,976
GDP per capita $45,642 (2010)
Currency euro
Internet top-level domain .ie

Ireland is a country in northwestern Europe comprising five sixths the island of Ireland. Ireland became independent in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. The 1937 constitution gives the name of the state as simply "Ireland."[1] It is sometimes described as the "Republic of Ireland".

Ireland supports the homosexual agenda.[2] On the other hand, Ireland is very pro-life, abortion is restricted in Ireland: to cases of when the mother's life is endangered and when she is likely to commit suicide.

Geography

The island of Ireland is located in the Atlantic Ocean, to the west of Great Britain. Of the thirty two counties on the island of Ireland, twenty six are in Ireland, including all counties in the provinces of Connacht, Munster and Leinster. Of the nine counties of Ulster, three (Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal) are in Ireland and the remaining counties remain in the United Kingdom. The longest river in Ireland, The Shannon, divides the country into a largely urban eastern section, dominated by Dublin, and a more rural, less economically vibrant western area.

People

The Irish people are mainly of Celtic and Norman origin with history of some Anglo-Saxon settlers during failed English plantations (successful in Northern Ireland only). Today, the country has many minorities including substantial numbers of people from Poland, China and Nigeria. Traditionally the language of Irish (Gaelic) was the primary one on the island but after centuries of British colonialism by the end of the 19th century it was endangered and was confined to very small,peripheral regions in the West of the country as it continues to today following an unsuccessful attempt to revive the language by Ireland's government. Britain tried to secure unity with Ireland by using multiple large scale plantations of Scottish Protestant settlers. All of these where failures due to the native Irish violently opposing such settlers,the only success was the Ulster plantation which is the reason for the large Protestant population in Northern Ireland and the partitioning of the country. There is still sectarian conflict in this part of the island.

During the 1840s a disease known as the potato blight spread through the nations potato crop (most Irish were totally reliant on potatoes). The English did not help and the blight caused mass starvation and disease. In the end about 1 million had died and about 1 million had emigrated. The famine was a major blow to the nation, especially to the native language (Irish) and eventually the population would fall from over 8 million before the famine to under 3 million in the mid 20th century(before rising again). The nation continued to be a major source of immigrants to the United States and today over 30 million Americans report Irish ancestry making it the second largest ancestry in the United States only behind German. Irish writers(many Anglo-Irish) such as Swift, Sheridan, Goldsmith, Burke, O'Casey, Wilde, Joyce, Yeats, Shaw, and Beckett have made major contributions to English literature over the past 300 years.

  • Population: 4,470,700 (2010 est.).
  • Cities: Capital—Dublin (pop. 506,211). Other cities—Cork (119,418), Limerick (92,539), Galway (72,414), Waterford, (45,748).
  • Population breakdown 0–14 years (20.4%), 15–24 years (15%), 25–34 years (17%), 35–44 years (14%), 45–54 years (12%), 55–64 years (10%), 65 years and over (11%)
  • Population growth rate: 2.61% (2008 est.).
  • Ethnic groups: Irish 84.5%, other white 9.8%, Asian 1.9%, black 1.4%, mixed and other 0.9%, unspecified 1.6% (2011 est.).
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 86.8%; No religion 4.4%; Church of Ireland 3%; Islam 0.8%; Presbyterian 0.6%; Orthodox 0.5%; Methodist 0.3%; other 2.1%
  • Languages: English, Irish (Gaelic).
  • Education: Compulsory up to age 16. Enrolment rates: first (primary) level 449,508, second (high school and vocational) level 335,162, third (university and college) level 133,691. Literacy—98%-99%.
  • Health: Infant mortality rate—4.61/1,000. Life expectancy at birth—male 77.32 yrs., female 81.79 yrs.
  • Work force: Services—66%; industry—28%; agriculture—6%.

Government and Political Conditions

Ireland is a sovereign, independent, democratic state with a parliamentary system of government. The president, who serves as head of state in a largely ceremonial role, is elected for a 7-year term and can be re-elected only once. The current president is Michael D. Higgins, who is serving his first term after succeeding President Mary McAleese. In carrying out certain constitutional powers and functions, the president is aided by the Council of State, an advisory body. On the Taoiseach's (prime minister's) advice, the president also dissolves the Oireachtas (Parliament).

The Taoiseach (pronounced "TEE-shuck")(prime minister) is elected by the Dáil (lower house of Parliament) as the leader of the incoming government. He is usually the leader of the principal political party, of which he had been elected by an internal vote within that party. He usually has to make a deal with other political parties and/or independently elected TDs (members of parliament). In order to be able to form a government he must essentially have the support of a majority of the 166 elected members of Dáil Éireann. Dáil Éireann is far and away the most important political parliament, and Seanad Éireann was historically created as a means to provide the former colonial Anglo-Irish rulers with a voice in national politics. Only one member of Seanad Éireann has served in an Irish government by virtue of that membership, James Dooge. Elections to the Dáil are held approximately every 5 years (unless called earlier due to a political crisis). Executive power is vested in a cabinet whose ministers are nominated by the Taoiseach and approved by the Dáil.

The bicameral Oireachtas (Parliament) consists of Seanad Éireann (Senate) and Dáil Éireann (House of Representatives). The Seanad is composed of 60 members—11 nominated by the Taoiseach, 6 elected by the national universities, and 43 elected from panels of candidates established on a vocational basis. The Seanad has the power to delay legislative proposals and is allowed 90 days to consider and amend bills sent to it by the Dail, which wields greater power in Parliament. The Dáil has 166 members popularly elected to a maximum term of 5 years under a complex system of proportional representation. A member of the Dáil is known as a Teachta Dala, or TD.

Judges are appointed by the president on nomination by the government and can be removed from office only for misbehavior or incapacity and then only by resolution of both houses of Parliament. The ultimate court of appeal is the Supreme Court, consisting of the chief justice and five other justices. The Supreme Court also can decide upon the constitutionality of legislative acts if the president asks for an opinion.

Local government is by elected county councils and—in the cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Waterford—by county borough corporations. County councils/corporations in turn select city mayors. In practice, however, authority remains with the central government.

Irish politics was traditionally dominated by the two political parties that grew out of Ireland's bitter 1922-23 civil war: Fianna Fáil (Wariers of Destiny) and Fine Gael (Tribe of the Gaelic People). Fianna Fáil was formed by those who opposed the 1921 treaty with the UK that gave Ireland independence but required Ireland to retain links to the UK. Fine Gael was formed by those who supported tht treaty. Although treaty opponents lost the civil war, Fianna Fáil soon became Ireland's largest political party and retained that position until 2011 when it was decimated and Fine Gael emerged as the country's largest party. Labour, Sinn Féin, and the Greens are the other significant parties.

Until 2004 Ireland had granted citizenship on the basis of birth on Irish soil. Concerns about immigration and social welfare abuse prompted the government to seek to bring citizenship laws in line with the more restrictive policies prevalent in the rest of Europe, and the 2004 referendum measure passed by a wide majority. Now, persons with non-Irish parents can acquire Irish citizenship at birth only if at least one parent has been resident in Ireland for three years preceding the birth.

Principal Government Officials

  • President—Michael D. Higgins
  • Taoiseach (Prime Minister)--Enda Kenny
  • Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister)--Eamon Gilmore

Taoisigh (Prime Ministers) of the Republic of Ireland

  • Éamon de Valera (Fianna Fáil): 1937-1948, 1951-1954, 1957-1959.
  • John A.Costello (Fine Gael): 1948-1951, 1954-1957.
  • Seán Lemass (Fianna Fáil): 1959-1966.
  • Jack Lynch (Fianna Fáil): 1966-1973, 1977-1979.
  • Liam Cosgrave (Fine Gael): 1973-1977.
  • Charles Haughey (Fianna Fáil): 1979-1981, March 1982 - December 82 and March 1987 - February 1992.
  • Garret FitzGerald (Fine Gael): 30 June 1981- 9 March 1982 and 14 December 1982 - 10 March 1987.
  • Albert Reynolds (Fianna Fáil): February 1992 – 1994.
  • John Bruton (Fine Gael): 1994-1997.
  • Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fáil): 1997-2008.
  • Brian Cowen (Fianna Fáil): 2008 to 2011.[3]
  • Enda Kenny (Fine Gael): 2011-

Political Parties

Fianna Fail: (Pronounced Fee-Na Fall which is Irish for 'Wariers of Destiny'). Ireland's 3rd largest political party, they do not class themselves as either left or right wing but are generally considered centrist and traditionally the choice for republicans (in the Irish sense, meaning supporters of a United Ireland) due to its foundation by Eamon de Valera; considered by his supporters to be the greatest of all Irish nationalists. Fianna Fail is traditionally a Populist party, spearheading the disease and slum eradication programme's of the 1950s and 1960s. Nowadays however, it is considered to be on the pragmatic centre as well as supportive of the construction sector and its representatives.[4]

Fine Gael: (Pronounced Finna Gale, Irish for 'Family of the Irish'). Ireland's largest party. Fine Gael is traditionally socially and fiscally conservative. Traditionally the party of Big Business and the farming community, although generally liberal on social issues (though probably not by American standards) Under the leadership of Garret FitzGerald in the 1980s, the party embraced social democracy. Today the party likes to characterize itself as a party of the "progressive centre". Led by Enda Kenny.[5]

Labour Party: Currently the second largest party. The Labour Party has traditionally been the left wing force of Irish politics, though in the recent election under the leadership of a former member of the communist leaning Sinn Féin Workers Party, Pat Rabbitte, the party moved over to the centre in order to join in a possible coalition government with Fine Gael. Although they lost the election, the coalition helped to modernise the party more in line with European Social Democratic Groups. The party is currently led by Eamon Gilmore, a center left politician.[6]

Green Party: A left-wing party and member of the current leading coalition who are in favour of environmental protection, renewable energy and a stronger system of social security. Led by John Gormley, the current minister for the Environment.

Sinn Féin: (Pronounced Shin Fane, Irish for 'Ourselves') Remnant of Ireland's oldest political party, it is closely connected with the Provisional IRA, a terrorist/guerrilla movement that sought a United Irish Republic that have since disbanded. They have recently embraced a more democratic approach. They are a party of left-wing socialist economics which espouses liberal social issues such as same-sex "marriage". They organise in all 32 counties of Ireland. Led by former IRA commander Gerry Adams.[7]

Foreign Relations

Ireland is a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the European Union. Ireland has been an important contributor to numerous international peacekeeping missions, such as in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Liberia (UNIMIL), and the Balkans (KFOR and EUFOR). Ireland's overseas development assistance focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa and stands at 5 percent of GDP.

Relations with the United States

U.S. relations with Ireland have long been based on common ancestral ties and shared values. These relations have broadened and matured, given the significant U.S. role in Ireland's economic success and cooperation on global challenges. Besides regular dialogue on political and economic issues, the U.S. and Irish Governments have official exchanges in areas such as medical research and education.

With Ireland's membership in the European Union, the discussion of EU trade and economic policies, as well as other aspects of EU policy, is also a key element in the U.S.-Irish relationship. In recent years, Ireland has attempted to act as a diplomatic bridge between the United States and European Union. During its 2004 EU presidency, Ireland worked to strengthen U.S.-EU ties that had been strained by the Iraq war, and the current EU Ambassador to the United States is former Irish Prime Minister John Bruton.

Emigration, long a vital element in the U.S.-Irish relationship, declined significantly with Ireland's economic boom in the 1990s. For the first time in its modern history, Ireland is experiencing high levels of inward migration, a phenomenon with political, economic, and social consequences. However, Irish citizens do continue the common practice of taking temporary residence overseas for work or study, mainly in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere in Europe, before returning to establish careers in Ireland. The U.S. J-1 visa program, for example, remains a popular means for Irish youths to work temporarily in the United States.

Economy

Ireland once boasted a vibrant, globalized economy, with GDP per capita second only to Luxembourg's in the EU. The "Celtic Tiger" period of the mid to late 1990s saw several years of double-digit GDP growth, driven by a progressive industrial policy that boosted large-scale foreign direct investment and exports. GDP growth dipped during the immediate post-9/11 global economic slowdown, but has averaged roughly 5 percent yearly since 2004, the best performance for this period among the original EU 15 Member States. Since 2004, the Irish economy has generated roughly 90,000 new jobs annually, attracting over 200,000 foreign workers, mostly from the new EU Member states, in an unprecedented immigration influx. The construction sector has accounted for approximately one-quarter of these jobs, and economists caution that any slowdown in Ireland's vibrant housing market would have ramifications for continued GDP growth.

Economic and trade ties are an important facet of overall U.S.-Irish relations. In 2005, U.S. exports to Ireland were valued at $9 billion, while Irish exports to the U.S. totaled $28 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The range of U.S. exports includes electrical components and equipment, computers and peripherals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and livestock feed. Irish exports to the United States represent approximately 20% of all Irish exports, and have roughly the same value as Irish exports to the UK (inclusive of Northern Ireland). Exports to the United States include alcoholic beverages, chemicals and related products, electronic data processing equipment, electrical machinery, textiles and clothing, and glassware. According to Ireland's Central Statistical Office, Irish exports to the United States from January to September 2006 rose by 7% compared to the same period in 2005, while Irish imports from the United States from January to September 2006 fell by 14% compared to the same period in 2005.

U.S. investment has been particularly important to the growth and modernization of Irish industry over the past 25 years, providing new technology, export capabilities, and employment opportunities. As of year-end 2006, the stock of U.S. foreign direct investment in Ireland stood at $84 billion, more than double the U.S. total for China and India combined ($31.2 billion). Currently, there are approximately 620 U.S. subsidiaries in Ireland, employing roughly 100,000 people and spanning activities from manufacturing of high-tech electronics, computer products, medical supplies, and pharmaceuticals to retailing, banking, finance, and other services. In more recent years, Ireland has also become an important research and development (R&D) center for U.S. firms in Europe.

Many U.S. businesses find Ireland an attractive location to manufacture for the EU market, since it is inside the EU customs area and uses the euro. In 2005, U.S. firms accounted for 61% of Ireland's total exports of euro 89 billion. Other reasons for Ireland's attractiveness include: a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate for domestic and foreign firms; the quality and flexibility of the English-speaking work force; cooperative labor relations; political stability; pro-business government policies; a transparent judicial system; strong intellectual property protection; and, the pulling power of existing companies operating successfully (a "clustering" effect). Factors that negatively affect Ireland's ability to attract investment include: increasing labor and energy costs (especially when compared to low-cost countries in Eastern Europe and Asia), skilled labor shortages, inadequate infrastructure (such as in the transportation and internet/broadband sectors), and price levels that are ranked among the highest in Europe.

  • Nominal GDP (2009): $204.144 billion.
  • Real GDP growth (2011): 2.8% (Q1 2011).
  • Nominal GDP per capita (2009): $45,642.
  • Natural resources: Zinc, lead, natural gas, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, peat.
  • Agriculture (5% of GDP): Products—cattle, meat, and dairy products; potatoes; barley; hay; silage; wheat.
  • Industry (46% of GDP): Types—food processing, beverages, engineering, computer equipment, textiles and clothing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, construction.
  • Trade (2006): Exports--$119.8 billion (excluding services): machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, food, live animals, manufactured materials, beverages. Imports--$87.4 billion (excluding services): grains, petroleum products, machinery, transport equipment, chemicals, textile yarns. Major suppliers-Great Britain and Northern Ireland 31%, U.S. 11%, Germany 8%, China 7%, Japan 4%, France 3%, rest of the world (including other EU Member States) 36%.

Ireland was badly hit by the 2008 financial crisis, resulting in the collapse of the property bubble.

History

The earliest inhabitants—people of a mid-Stone Age culture—arrived about 6000 BC. About 4,000 years later, tribes from southern Europe arrived and established a high Neolithic culture, leaving behind gold ornaments and huge stone monuments. The Bronze Age people, who arrived during the next 1,000 years, produced elaborate gold and bronze ornaments and weapons.

The Iron Age arrived abruptly in the fourth century BC with the invasion of the Celts, a tall, energetic people who had spread across Europe and Great Britain in the preceding centuries. The Celts, or Gaels, and their more numerous predecessors divided into five kingdoms in which, despite constant strife, a rich culture flourished.

The coming of Christianity from across the Irish Sea brought major changes and civilizing influences. Tradition maintains that St. Patrick arrived on the island in AD 432 and, in the years that followed, worked to convert the Irish to Christianity.

The pagan druid tradition collapsed before the spread of the new faith, and Irish scholars excelled in the study of Latin learning and Christian theology in the monasteries that flourished. Missionaries went forth from Ireland to Great Britain and the continent, spreading news of the flowering of learning, and scholars from other nations came to Irish monasteries. The excellence and isolation of these monasteries helped preserve Latin and Greek learning during the Dark Ages. The arts of manuscript illumination, metalworking, and sculpture flourished and produced such treasures as the Book of Kells, ornate jewelry, and the many carved stone crosses that dot the island.

Two hundred years of Viking invasion and settlement was later followed by a Norman conquest in the 12th century. The Norman conquest resulted in the assimilation of the Norman settlers into Irish society. The early 17th century saw the arrival of Scottish and English Protestants, sent as colonists to the north of Ireland and the Pale around Dublin.

In 1800 the Irish Parliament passed the Act of Union with Great Britain, and Ireland was an official part of the United Kingdom until 1921. Religious freedom, outlawed in the 18th century, was restored in 1829, but this victory for the Irish Catholic majority was overshadowed by a severe economic depression and the great famine from 1846-48 when the potato crop failed. Millions died, and the millions that emigrated spawned the first mass wave of Irish emigration to the United States. A decade later, in 1858, the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB—also known as the Fenians) was founded as a secret society dedicated to armed rebellion against the British. An aboveground political counterpart, the Home Rule Movement, was created in 1874, advocating constitutional change for independence.

Galvanized by the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell, the party was able to force British governments after 1885 to introduce several home rule bills. The turn of the century witnessed a surge of interest in Irish nationalism, including the founding of Sinn Féin ("Ourselves Alone") as an open political movement.

Nationalism was and is a potent populist force in Irish politics. A home rule bill passed in 1914, but its implementation was suspended until war in Europe ended. Believing the mantra: "England's problem is Ireland's opportunity," and tapping into a mood of Gaelic revivalism, Padraic Pearse and James Connolly led the unsuccessful Easter Rising of 1916. Pearse and the other 1916 leaders declared an independent Irish republic, but a lack of popular support doomed the rebellion, which lasted a week and destroyed large portions of Dublin. The decision by the British military government to execute the leaders of the rebellion, coupled with the British Government's threat of conscripting the Irish to fight in the Great War, alienated public opinion and produced massive support for Sinn Féin in the 1918 general election. Under the leadership of Eamon de Valera, the elected Sinn Féin deputies constituted themselves as the first Dail. Tensions only increased: British attempts to smash Sinn Féin ignited the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-1921.

The end of the war brought the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State of 26 counties within the British Commonwealth and recognized the partition of the island into Ireland and Northern Ireland, though supposedly as a temporary measure. The six predominantly Protestant counties of northeast Ulster—Northern Ireland—remained a part of the United Kingdom with limited self-government. A significant Irish minority repudiated the treaty settlement because of the continuance of subordinate ties to the British monarch and the partition of the island. This opposition led to further hostilities—a civil war (1922–23), which was won by the pro-treaty forces.

In 1932, Eamon de Valera, the political leader of the forces initially opposed to the treaty, became Prime Minister, and a new Irish constitution was enacted in 1937. The last British military bases were soon withdrawn, and the ports were returned to Irish control. Ireland was neutral in World War II. The government formally declared Ireland a republic in 1948; however, it does not normally use the term "Republic of Ireland," which tacitly acknowledges the partition, but refers to the country simply as "Ireland."

Bibliography

  • Brady, Ciaran, ed. The Encyclopedia of Ireland: An A-Z Guide to Its People, Places, History, and Culture. (2000). 390 pp.
  • Foster, R. F., ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland. (1989). 382 pp.
  • Ruckenstein, Lelia and O'Malley, James A. Everything Irish: The History, Literature, Art, Music, People, and Places of Ireland from A-Z. (2003). 496 pp.
  • OECD Information Technology Outlook 2004
  • Lalor, Brian, ed. The Encyclopedia of Ireland (Gill & Macmillan, 2003) (ISBN 9780717130009)

Historical surveys and reference books

  • Bottigheimer, Karl S. Ireland and the Irish: A Short History. (1982). 301 pp.
  • Canny, Nicholas. From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534-1660 (Dublin, 1987)
  • Connolly, S. J. ed. The Oxford Companion to Irish History (1998) online edition
  • Cosgrove, Art. ed., A New History of Ireland, ii: Medieval Ireland, 1169-1534 (1987). 982 pp.
  • Donnelly, James S., ed. Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture. (2004). 1084 pp.
  • Edwards, Ruth Dudley. An Atlas of Irish History. 2d ed. (1981). 286 pp.
  • Ellis, Steven G. Ireland in the Age of the Tudors 1447-1603. English Expansion and the End of Gaelic Rule (1998)
  • Fleming, N. C. and O'Day, Alan. The Longman Handbook of Modern Irish History since 1800. 2005. 808 pp.
  • Foster, R. F. Modern Ireland, 1600-1972 (1988)
  • Foster, R. F., ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland. (1989). 382 pp.
  • Fry, Peter and Fry, Fiona Somerset. A History of Ireland. Routledge, 1989. 366 pp.
  • Hachey, Thomas E., Joseph M. Hernon Jr., Lawrence J. McCaffrey; The Irish Experience: A Concise History M. E. Sharpe, 1996 online edition
  • Hickey, D. J. and Doherty, J. E. A Dictionary of Irish History since 1800. Barnes & Noble, 1980. 615 pp.
  • Jackson, Alvin. Ireland: 1798-1998 (1999)
  • Johnson, Paul. Ireland: Land of Troubles: A History from the Twelfth Century to the Present Day. (1982). 224 pp. by a conservative historian
  • Lee, J. J. Ireland 1912-1985 (1989)
  • Lecky, W. E. H. A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century, 5 vols. (1892) vol 3 online
  • Moody, T. W. and Vaughan, W. E., eds. A New History of Ireland. Vol. 4: Eighteenth-Century Ireland, 1691-1800. (1986). 849 pp.
  • Moody, T. W.; Martin, F. X.; and Byrne, F. J., eds. A New History of Ireland. Vol. 8: A Chronology of Irish History to 1976: A Companion to Irish History, Part 1. (1982). 591 pp
  • Moody, T. W.; Martin, F. X.; and Byrne, F. J., eds. A New History of Ireland. Vol. 9: Maps, Genealogies, Lists. A Companion to Irish History, Part 2. (1984).
  • Newman, Peter R. Companion to Irish History, 1603-1921: From the Submission of Tyrone to Partition. (1991). 256 pp basic summary
  • Ranelagh, John O'Beirne. A Short History of Ireland. (1983). 272 pp.
  • Ranelagh, John. Ireland: An Illustrated History. (1981). 267 pp.
  • Vaughan, W. E., ed. A New History of Ireland. Vol. 5: Ireland under the Union, I, 1801-70. (1990). 839 pp.
  • Vaughan, W. E., ed. A New History of Ireland. Vol. 6: Ireland under the Union. Part 2: 1870-1921. (1996). 957 pp.


Specialized studies

  • Bartlett, Thomas and Keith Jeffrey, eds. A Military History of Ireland (1996)
  • Boyce, D. George and Alan O’day. The Making of Modern Irish History: Revisionism and the Revisionist Controversy 1996 online edition
  • Cosgrove, Art. "The Writing of Irish Medieval History", I.H.S., xxvii (1990), 97-111
  • Cullen, L. M. The Emergence of Modern Ireland, 1600-1900 (Dublin, 1981)
  • Cunliffe, Barry et al., ed. The Penguin Atlas of British and Irish History. 320 pp.
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Ulster

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Culture

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References

Copyright Details
License: This work is in the Public Domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the U.S. Code
Source: File available from the United States Federal Government [5].