Economy of The Republic of Ireland
Overview: Ireland is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy with growth averaging a robust 7% from 1995-2004. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now dwarfed by industry and services. Industry accounts for 46% of GDP, about 80% of exports, and 29% of the labor force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Ireland's growth, the economy has also benefited from a rise in consumer spending, construction, and business investment. Per capita GDP is now 10% above that of the four big European economies and the second highest in the EU behind Luxembourg.
Over the past decade, the Irish Government has implemented a series of national economic programs designed to curb price and wage inflation, reduce government spending, increase labor force skills, and promote foreign investment. Ireland joined with 11 other EU nations in circulating the Euro on January 1, 2002. Agriculture products:
GDP (purchasing power parity): $164.6 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.7% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $41,000 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5%, industry: 46%, services: 49% (2002 est.)
Labor force: 2.03 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: Agriculture: 8%, Industry: 29%, Services: 64% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4.3% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line: 10% (1997 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.4% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 27% of GDP (2005 est.)
- Revenues: $70.46 billion
- Expenditures: $69.4 billion.
- Public debt: 26.7% of GDP (2005 est.)
Turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, wheat; beef and dairy products.
Steel, lead, zinc, silver, aluminum, barite, and gypsum mining processing, food products, brewing, textiles, clothing; chemicals, pharmaceuticals; machinery, rail transportation equipment, passenger and commercial vehicles, ship construction and refurbishment, glass and crystal, software, tourism.
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2005 est.)
Electricity production by source:
- Fossil fuel: 95.9%
- Hydro: 2.3%
- Nuclear: 0% (2001)
Oil consumption: 175,600 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2002)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $869.3 million (2005 est.)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $607 million (2004)
Telephone system: Modern digital system using cable and microwave radio relay domestic: microwave radio relay
International country phone code: 353
Television broadcast stations: 4
Airports: 36 (2006)
Airports with paved runways: 15
Railways: total: 3,312 km
Roadways, total: 95,736 km
Ports and terminals: Cork, Dublin, New Ross, Shannon Foynes, Waterford.
Military branches: Irish Defense Forces (Oglaigh na h-Eireann): Army (includes Naval Service and Air Corps)
Military service age and obligation: 17 years of age for voluntary military service; enlistees under the age of 17 can be recruited for specialist positions (2001).
Transnational Issues Ireland
Disputes - international: Republic of Ireland, Iceland, and the UK dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm.
Illicit drugs: Ireland is a transshipment point for and consumer of hashish from North Africa to the UK and Netherlands and of European-produced synthetic drugs; minor transshipment point for heroin and cocaine destined for Western Europe. In spite of legislation, narcotics-related money laundering - using bureaux de change, trusts, and shell companies involving the offshore financial community, remains a problem.