Ireland

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Celtic tribes arrived on the island between 600 and 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. Norman invasions began in the 12th century and set off more than seven centuries of Anglo-Irish struggle marked by fierce rebellions and harsh repressions. The Irish famine of the mid-19th century saw the population of the island drop by one third through starvation and emigration. For more than a century after that the population of the island continued to fall only to begin growing again in the 1960s. Over the last 50 years, Ireland's high birthrate has made it demographically one of the youngest populations in the EU. The modern Irish state traces its origins to the failed 1916 Easter Monday Uprising that touched off several years of guerrilla warfare resulting in independence from the UK in 1921 for 26 southern counties; six northern counties remained part of the UK. Unresolved issues in Northern Ireland erupted into years of violence known as the "Troubles" that began in the 1960s. The Government of Ireland was part of a process along with the UK and US Governments that helped broker what is known as The Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland in 1998. This initiated a new phase of cooperation between the Irish and British Governments. Ireland was neutral in World War II and continues its policy of military neutrality. Ireland joined the European Community in 1973 and the euro zone currency union in 1999. The economic boom years of the Celtic Tiger (1995-2007) saw rapid economic growth, which came to an abrupt end in 2008 with the meltdown of the Irish banking system. Today the economy is recovering, fueled by large and growing foreign direct investment, especially from US multi-nationals.

Geography

Location

Western Europe, occupying five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain

Geographic coordinates

53.00° N, 8.00° W

Area 120/257

total: 70,273 sq km

land: 68,883 sq km

water: 1,390 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly larger than West Virginia

Land boundaries

total: 443 km

border countries (1): UK 443 km

Coastline

1,448 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

Climate

temperate maritime; modified by North Atlantic Current; mild winters, cool summers; consistently humid; overcast about half the time

Terrain

mostly flat to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Carrauntoohil 1,041 m

Natural resources

natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite

Land use

agricultural land: 66.1%

arable land 15.4%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 50.7%

forest: 10.9%

other: 23% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

52 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.79 cu km/yr (94%/6%/0%)

per capita: 226.9 cu m/yr (2007)

Natural hazards

NA

Environment - current issues

water pollution, especially of lakes, from agricultural runoff

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note

strategic location on major air and sea routes between North America and northern Europe; over 40% of the population resides within 100 km of Dublin

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Irishman(men), Irishwoman(women), Irish (collective plural)

adjective: Irish

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.)

Languages

English (official, the language generally used), Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official, spoken by approximately 38.7% of the population as a first or second language in 2011; mainly spoken in areas along the western coast)

Religions

Roman Catholic 84.7%, Church of Ireland 2.7%, other Christian 2.7%, Muslim 1.1%, other 1.7%, unspecified 1.5%, none 5.7% (2011 est.)

Population 123/238

4,892,305 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 21.5% (male 537,239/female 514,369)

15-24 years: 11.84% (male 294,771/female 284,710)

25-54 years: 43.82% (male 1,076,579/female 1,067,193)

55-64 years: 10.23% (male 250,926/female 249,453)

65 years and over: 12.61% (male 284,399/female 332,666) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 53.7%

youth dependency ratio: 33.5%

elderly dependency ratio: 20.2%

potential support ratio: 5% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 36.1 years

male: 35.8 years

female: 36.4 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 94/233

1.25% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 132/224

14.84 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 150/225

6.48 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 31/222

4.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 63.2% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.58% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

DUBLIN (capital) 1.169 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

29.9 (2012 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 169/184

8 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 198/224

total: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 4.07 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 31/224

total population: 80.68 years

male: 78.39 years

female: 83.11 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 123/224

1.99 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

64.8%

note: percent of women aged 18-49 (2004/05)

Health expenditures 57/191

8.9% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

2.67 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

2.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 97.9% of population

rural: 97.8% of population

total: 97.9% of population

unimproved:

urban: 2.1% of population

rural: 2.2% of population

total: 2.1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 89.1% of population

rural: 92.9% of population

total: 90.5% of population

unimproved:

urban: 10.9% of population

rural: 7.1% of population

total: 9.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.28% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

8,000 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 57/191

27% (2014)

Education expenditures 31/173

6.2% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 19 years

male: 19 years

female: 18 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 38/134

total: 26.8%

male: 29.8%

female: 23.5% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Ireland

local long form: none

local short form: Eire

etymology: the modern Irish name "Eire" evolved from the Gaelic "Eriu," the name of the matron goddess of Ireland (goddess of the land); the names Ireland in English and Eire in Irish are direct translations of each other

Government type

republic, parliamentary democracy

Capital

name: Dublin

geographic coordinates: 53.19° N, 6.14° W

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

28 counties and 3 cities*; Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Cork*, Donegal, Dublin*, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Galway, Galway*, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo , Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, South Dublin, Tipperary, Waterford, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow

Independence

6 December 1921 (from the UK by treaty)

National holiday

Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March

Constitution

previous 1922; latest drafted 14 June 1937, adopted by plebiscite 1 July 1937, effective 29 December 1937; amended many times, last in 2015 (2015)

Legal system

common law system based on the English model but substantially modified by customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 of the previous 8 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Michael D. HIGGINS (since 11 November 2011)

head of government: Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda KENNY (since 9 March 2011)

cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister, appointed by the president, approved by the lower house of Parliament

elections/appointments: president directly elected by majority popular vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 29 October 2011 (next to be held in October 2018); taoiseach (prime minister) nominated by the House of Representatives (Dail Eireann), appointed by the president

election results: Michael D. HIGGINS elected president; percent of vote - Michael D. HIGGINS (Labor Party) 39.6%, Sean GALLAGHER (independent) 28.5%, Martin MCGUINNESS (Sinn Fein) 13.7%, Gay MITCHELL (Fine Gael) 6.4%, David NORRIS (independent) 6.2%, other 5.6%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Oireachtas consists of the Senate or Seanad Eireann (60 seats; 43 members indirectly elected by panels of various vocational interests, 11 appointed by the prime minister, and 6 elected by graduates of the University of Dublin and the National University of Ireland; members serve 5-year terms) and the Parliament or Dail Eireann (166 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held in 27 April 2011 (next to be held probably in 2016); House of Representatives - last held on 25 February 2011 (next to be held probably in 2016)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Fine Gael 19, Fianna Fail 14, Labor Party 12, Sinn Fein 3, independent 12; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Fine Gael 36.1%, Labor Party 19.5%, Fianna Fail 17.5%, Sinn Fein 9.9%, United Left Alliance 2.6%, independent and other 14.4%; seats by party - Fine Gael 76, Labor Party 37, Fianna Fail 20, Sinn Fein 14, United Left Alliance 5, independent 14

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Ireland (consists of the chief justice, 9 judges, 2 ex-officio members - the presidents of the High Court and Court of Appeal - and organized in 3-, 5-, or 7-judge panels, depending on the importance or complexity of an issue of law)

judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the prime minister and Cabinet and appointed by the president; chief justice serves in the position for 7 years; judges can serve until age 70

subordinate courts: High Court, Court of Appeal; circuit and district courts; criminal courts

Political parties and leaders

Fianna Fail [Micheal MARTIN]

Fine Gael [Enda KENNY]

Green Party [Eamon RYAN]

Labor (Labour) Party [Joan BURTON]

Renua Ireland [Lucinda CREIGHTON]

Sinn Fein [Gerry ADAMS]

Socialist Party [collective leadership]

The Workers' Party [Michael DONNELLY]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Continuity IRA (terrorist group)

Families Acting for Innocent Relatives or FAIR [Brian MCCONNELL] (seek compensation for victims of violence);

Iona Institute [David QUINN] (a conservative Catholic think tank)

Irish Anti-War Movement [Richard BOYD BARRETT] (campaigns against wars around the world)

Keep Ireland Open (environmental group)

Oglaigh na hEireann (terrorist group)

Midland Railway Action Group or MRAG [Willie ALLEN] (transportation promoters)

New Irish Republican Army (terrorist group combining elements of the former Real IRA and Republican Action Against Drugs)

Peace and Neutrality Alliance [Roger COLE] (campaigns to protect Irish neutrality)

Rail Users Ireland (formerly the Platform 11 - transportation promoters)

32 Country Sovereignty Movement or 32CSM (supports unifying Northern Ireland with the rest of the island under Irish government sovereignty)

International organization participation

ADB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Flag description

three equal vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and orange; officially the flag colors have no meaning, but a common interpretation is that the green represents the Irish nationalist (Gaelic) tradition of Ireland; orange represents the Orange tradition (minority supporters of William of Orange); white symbolizes peace (or a lasting truce) between the green and the orange

note: similar to the flag of Cote d'Ivoire, which is shorter and has the colors reversed - orange (hoist side), white, and green; also similar to the flag of Italy, which is shorter and has colors of green (hoist side), white, and red

National symbol(s)

harp, shamrock (trefoil); national colors: blue, green

National anthem

name: "Amhran na bhFiann" (The Soldier's Song)

lyrics/music: Peadar KEARNEY [English], Liam O RINN [Irish]/Patrick HEENEY and Peadar KEARNEY

note: adopted 1926; instead of "Amhran na bhFiann," the song "Ireland's Call" is often used at athletic events where citizens of Ireland and Northern Ireland compete as a unified team

Economy

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 dropped sharply during the world financial crisis and the subsequent collapse of its domestic property market and construction industry. Faced with sharply reduced revenues and a burgeoning budget deficit from efforts to stabilize its fragile banking sector, the Irish Government introduced the first in a series of draconian budgets in 2009. These measures were not sufficient to stabilize Ireland’s public finances. In 2010, the budget deficit reached 32.4% of GDP - the world's largest deficit, as a percentage of GDP. In late 2010, the former COWEN government agreed to a $92 billion loan package from the EU and IMF to help Dublin recapitalize Ireland’s banking sector and avoid defaulting on its sovereign debt. In March 2011, the KENNY government intensified austerity measures to meet the deficit targets under Ireland's EU-IMF bailout program.

In late 2013, Ireland formally exited its EU-IMF bailout program, benefiting from its strict adherence to deficit-reduction targets and success in refinancing a large amount of banking-related debt. In 2014-15, the economy rapidly picked up and GDP grew by roughly 5% per year. The recovering economy assisted lowering the deficit to 2.5% of GDP. In late 2014, the government introduced a fiscally neutral budget, marking the end of the austerity program. Continued growth of tax receipts have allowed the government to lower some taxes and increase public spending while keeping to its deficit-reduction targets.

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 an even more important component of Ireland's economy. Ireland’s low corporation tax of 12.5% has been central to encouraging business investment. Loose tax residency requirements made Ireland a common destination for international firms seeking to avoid taxation. Amid growing international pressure the government announced it would phase in more stringent tax laws, effectively closing a loophole.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 61/230

$250.3 billion (2015 est.)

$238.7 billion (2014 est.)

$226.9 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$227.5 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 44/225

4.8% (2015 est.)

5.2% (2014 est.)

1.4% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 22/230

$54,300 (2015 est.)

$51,800 (2014 est.)

$49,200 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 62/179

23.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

23.1% of GDP (2014 est.)

19.5% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 47%

government consumption: 13.2%

investment in fixed capital: 20.3%

investment in inventories: 0.9%

exports of goods and services: 113.5%

imports of goods and services: -94.9% (2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 1.5%

industry: 24.9%

services: 73.5% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

barley, potatoes, wheat; beef, dairy products

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate 82/202

3% (2015 est.)

Labor force 121/233

2.176 million (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 5%

industry: 19%

services: 76% (2011 est.)

Unemployment rate 110/207

9.4% (2015 est.)

11.3% (2014 est.)

Population below poverty line

5.5% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.9%

highest 10%: 27.2% (2000)

Distribution of family income - Gini index 98/144

33.9 (2010)

35.9 (1987)

Budget

revenues: $78.42 billion

expenditures: $84.07 billion (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 66/219

34.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 88/220

-2.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 15/176

101.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

107.6% of GDP (2014 est.)

note: 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

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 30/226

-0.2% (2015 est.)

0.2% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 140/156

0.05% (31 December 2013)

0.3% (31 December 2010)

note: 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 165/184

3.4% (31 December 2015 est.)

3.41% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 27/192

$140.9 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$143.5 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

note: see entry for the European Union for money supply for the entire euro area; the European Central Bank (ECB) controls monetary policy for the 18 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 39/193

$255.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$267.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 35/191

$340.4 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$380.3 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares 42/121

$109 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

$108.1 billion (31 December 2011)

$60.45 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance 24/197

$7.213 billion (2015 est.)

$9.08 billion (2014 est.)

Exports 33/224

$140.4 billion (2015 est.)

$144.8 billion (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, medical devices, pharmaceuticals; foodstuffs, animal products

Exports - partners

US 20.6%, UK 16%, Belgium 14.1%, Germany 6.8%, Switzerland 6.3%, France 5.6%, Netherlands 4.1% (2014)

Imports 37/223

$81.39 billion (2015 est.)

$84.38 billion (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

data processing equipment, other machinery and equipment, chemicals, petroleum and petroleum products, textiles, clothing

Imports - partners

UK 38.8%, US 10.3%, Germany 8.5%, Netherlands 6.2%, China 4% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 124/170

$1.748 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.635 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Debt - external 11/206

$1.96 trillion (31 December 2014 est.)

$2.078 trillion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 12/120

$878.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$831.9 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 13/105

$961.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$939.6 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.89 (2015 est.)

0.75 (2014 est.)

0.76 (2013 est.)

0.78 (2012 est.)

0.72 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 69/220

25.85 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 69/219

24.24 billion kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 72/218

388 million kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 55/219

2.508 billion kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 61/214

8.759 million kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 106/214

71% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 84/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 133/214

2.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 11/212

23% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 128/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 73/214

4,866 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports 52/214

66,490 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 127/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 78/214

57,790 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 67/212

142,500 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 70/214

23,020 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 50/213

105,700 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production 79/216

152 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 62/215

4.408 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports 92/215

0 cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports 33/214

4.246 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 80/212

9.911 billion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 72/212

35.49 million Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 57/219

total subscriptions: 2.02 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 42 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 119/217

total: 4.9 million

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 101 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: modern digital system using cable and microwave radio relay

domestic: system privatized but dominated by former state monopoly operator; increasing levels of broadband access particularly in urban areas

international: country code - 353; landing point for the Hibernia-Atlantic submarine cable with links to the US, Canada, and UK; satellite earth stations - 81 (2014)

Broadcast media

publicly owned broadcaster Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE) operates 2 TV stations; commercial TV stations are available; about 75% of households utilize multi-channel satellite and TV services that provide access to a wide range of stations; RTE operates 4 national radio stations and has launched digital audio broadcasts on several stations; a number of commercial broadcast stations operate at the national, regional, and local levels (2014)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 9, FM 106, shortwave 0 (1998)

Television broadcast stations

4 (many repeaters) (2008)

Internet country code

.ie

Internet hosts 40/232

1.387 million (2012)

Internet users 79/217

total: 3.9 million

percent of population: 81.6% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 105/236

40 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 16

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 5

under 914 m: 5 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 24

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 2

under 914 m: 21 (2013)

Pipelines

gas 2,147 km (2013)

Railways 54/136

total: 3,237 km

broad gauge: 1,872 km 1.600-m gauge (49 km electrified)

narrow gauge: 1,365 km 0.914-m gauge (operated by the Irish Peat Board to transport peat to power stations and briquetting plants) (2014)

Roadways 49/223

total: 96,036 km

paved: 96,036 km (includes 1,224 km of expressways) (2014)

Waterways 67/107

956 km (pleasure craft only) (2010)

Merchant marine 84/156

total: 31

by type: cargo 28, chemical tanker 2, container 1

foreign-owned: 5 (France 2, Spain 1, US 2)

registered in other countries: 33 (Bahamas 3, Bermuda 1, Cambodia 1, Cyprus 3, Isle of Man 1, Kazakhstan 1, Malta 4, Marshall Islands 6, Netherlands 8, Panama 1, Russia 1, Slovakia 1, Sweden 1, UK 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Dublin, Shannon Foynes,

river port(s): Cork (Lee), Waterford (Suir)

container port(s) (TEUs): Dublin (1,931,001)

Military and Security

Military branches

Irish Defence Forces (Oglaigh na h-Eireannn), Permanent Defence Forces (PDF): Army, Naval Service, Air Corps; Reserve Defence Forces (RDF): Army, Naval Service Reserves (2014)

Military service age and obligation

18-25 years of age for male and female voluntary military service recruits to the Permanent Defence Forces (PDF; 18-27 years of age for the Naval Service); 18-28 for cadetship (officer) applicants; 18-35 years of age for the Reserve Defence Forces (RDF); maximum obligation 12 years (PDF officers), 5 years (PDF enlisted), 3 years RDF (4 years for Naval Service Reserves); EU citizenship, refugee status, or 5-year residence in Ireland required (2014)

Military expenditures 126/132

0.49% of GDP (2014)

0.51% of GDP (2013)

0.55% of GDP (2012)

0.59% of GDP (2011)

0.55% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Ireland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 99 (2014)

Illicit drugs

transshipment point for and consumer of hashish from North Africa to the UK and Netherlands and of European-produced synthetic drugs; increasing consumption of South American cocaine; minor transshipment point for heroin and cocaine destined for Western Europe; despite recent legislation, narcotics-related money laundering - using bureaux de change, trusts, and shell companies involving the offshore financial community - remains a concern