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Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600-150 B.C. Invasions by Norsemen that began in the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian BORU defeated the Danes in 1014. English invasions began in the 12th century and set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by fierce rebellions and harsh repressions. A failed 1916 Easter Monday Rebellion touched off several years of guerrilla warfare that in 1921 resulted in independence from the UK for 26 southern counties; six northern (Ulster) counties remained part of the UK. In 1949, Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth; it joined the European Community in 1973. Irish governments have sought the peaceful unification of Ireland and have cooperated with Britain against terrorist groups. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland is gradually being implemented despite some difficulties. In 2006, the Irish and British governments developed and began to implement the St. Andrews Agreement, building on the Good Friday Agreement approved in 1998.


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Economy - overview
Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy. Ireland was among the initial group of 12 EU nations that began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002. GDP growth averaged 6% in 1995-2007, but economic activity has dropped sharply since the onset of the world financial crisis, with GDP falling by over 3% in 2008, nearly 7% in 2009, and less than 1% in 2010. Ireland entered into a recession in 2008 for the first time in more than a decade, with the subsequent collapse of its domestic property and construction markets. Property prices rose more rapidly in Ireland in the decade up to 2007 than in any other developed economy. Since their 2007 peak, average house prices have fallen 47%. In the wake of the collapse of the construction sector and the downturn in consumer spending and business investment, the export sector, dominated by foreign multinationals, has become a key component of Ireland's economy. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services. In 2008 the COWEN government moved to guarantee all bank deposits, recapitalize the banking system, and establish partly-public venture capital funds in response to the country's economic downturn. In 2009, in continued efforts to stabilize the banking sector, the Irish Government established the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) to acquire problem commercial property and development loans from Irish banks. Faced with sharply reduced revenues and a burgeoning budget deficit, the Irish Government introduced the first in a series of draconian budgets in 2009. In addition to across-the-board cuts in spending, the 2009 budget included wage reductions for all public servants. These measures were not sufficient. In 2010, the budget deficit reached 32.4% of GDP - the world's largest deficit, as a percentage of GDP - because of additional government support for the banking sector. In late 2010, the former COWEN Government agreed to a $112 billion loan package from the EU and IMF to help Dublin further increase the capitalization of its banking sector and avoid defaulting on its sovereign debt. Since entering office in March 2011, the KENNY government has intensified austerity measures to try to meet the deficit targets under Ireland's EU-IMF program. Ireland achieved moderate growth in 2011 and cut the budget deficit to 10.1% of GDP, although the recovery is expected to slow in 2012 as a result of the euro-zone debt crisis.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 58
$183.9 billion (2011 est.)
$182.6 billion (2010 est.)
$183.4 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$217.7 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 184
0.7% (2011 est.)
-0.4% (2010 est.)
-7% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 23
$40,100 (2011 est.)
$40,900 (2010 est.)
$41,100 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 2%
Industry 29%
Services 69% (2010 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 119
2.126 million (2011 est.)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 5%
Industry 19%
Services 76% (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 144
14.4% (2011 est.)
13.6% (2010 est.)

Population below poverty line
5.5% (2009)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 2.9%
Highest 10% 27.2% (2000)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 93
33.9 (2010)
35.9 (1987)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 100
19.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Revenues $75.89 billion
Expenditures $97.86 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 67
34.9% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 199
-10.1% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 12
105.4% of GDP (2011 est.)
92.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
Data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment. Debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions.

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 40
2.6% (2011 est.)
-0.9% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 121
1.75% (31 December 2011)
1.75% (31 December 2010)
This is the European Central Bank's rate on the marginal lending facility, which offers overnight credit to banks in the euro area

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 151
3.5% (31 December 2011 est.)
5.45% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 29
$118.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$124.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
See entry for the European Union for money supply in the euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 17 members of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); individual members of the EMU do not control the quantity of money circulating within their own borders

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 34
$291.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$260 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 17
$892.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$983.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares World Ranking: 57
$35.36 billion (31 December 2011)
$33.72 billion (31 December 2010)
$29.88 billion (31 December 2009)

Agriculture - products
Barley, potatoes, wheat; beef, dairy products

Pharmaceuticals, chemicals, computer hardware and software, food products, beverages and brewing; medical devices

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 100
3% (2011 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 65
26.35 billion kWh (2011 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 64
26.1 billion kWh (2011 est.)

Electricity - exports
242 million kWh (2011 est.)

Electricity - imports
732 million kWh (2011 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 110
430.8 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 67
143,100 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 86
21,590 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 54
166,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 145
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 72
383 million cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 57
5.667 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 118
0 cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 32
5.293 billion cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 80
9.911 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 52
$177 million (2011 est.)
$1.01 billion (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 35
$118.7 billion (2011 est.)
$110.1 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, medical devices, pharmaceuticals; food products, animal products

Exports - partners
US 22.3%, UK 16.2%, Belgium 15.3%, Germany 7.1%, France 5.7%, Switzerland 4.2% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 48
$68 billion (2011 est.)
$61.63 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing

Imports - partners
UK 39.8%, US 13%, Germany 7.8%, Netherlands 5.8% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 124
$1.703 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$2.115 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 10
$2.352 trillion (30 September 2011)
$2.283 trillion (31 December 2010)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home World Ranking: 20
$261.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$222.6 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad World Ranking: 19
$223.1 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$345.7 billion (31 December 2010)

Exchange rates
Euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.7194 (2011 est.)
0.755 (2010 est.)
0.7198 (2009 est.)
0.6827 (2008 est.)
0.7345 (2007 est.)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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Ireland (Dublin):
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GPS points from Ireland (Dublin)

square Curraun Leitrim

square Buffy Lough Galway

square Ross Lake Galway

square Crocknahallin Donegal

square Black Rock Sligo

square Paulsworth Cork

square Lergynasearhagh Donegal

square Meenaglagh Sligo

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