Geographic and Governmental Profile of Ireland

Background
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.
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
Continent / Subcontinent
Europe
Area
total:
70,273 sq km
rank:
120
land:
68,883 sq km
water:
1,390 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than West Virginia
Land boundaries
total:
360 km
border countries:
UK 360 km
Coastline
1,448 km
Maritime claims
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 level to rolling interior plain surrounded by rugged hills and low mountains; sea cliffs on west coast
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Carrauntoohil 1,041 m
Natural resources
natural gas, peat, copper, lead, zinc, silver, barite, gypsum, limestone, dolomite
Land use
arable land:
16.82%
permanent crops:
0.03%
other:
83.15% (2005)
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Irrigated land
NA
Total renewable water resources
46.8 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
1.18 cu km/yr (23%/77%/0%)
per capita:
284 cu m/yr (1994)
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
Country name
conventional long form:
none
conventional short form:
Ireland
local long form:
none
local short form:
Eire
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
29 counties and 5 cities*; Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Cork, Cork*, Donegal, Dublin*, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, Galway, Galway*, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Limerick, Limerick*, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, North Tipperary, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, South Dublin, South Tipperary, Waterford, Waterford*, Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow
Independence
6 December 1921 (from the UK by treaty)
Constitution
adopted 1 July 1937 by plebiscite; effective 29 December 1937
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
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Michael D. HIGGINS (since 29 October 2011)
head of government:
Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda KENNY (since 9 March 2011)
cabinet:
Cabinet appointed by the president with previous nomination by the prime minister and approval of the lower house of Parliament
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 29 October 2011 (next scheduled for October 2018); prime minister (taoiseach) nominated by the House of Representatives (Dail Eireann) and appointed by the president
election results:
Michael D. HIGGINS elected president; percent of vote - Michael D. HIGGINS 39.6%, Sean GALLAGHER 28.5%, Martin MCGUINNESS 13.7%, Gay MITCHELL 6.4%, David NORRIS 6.2%
Legislative branch
bicameral Parliament or Oireachtas consists of the Senate or Seanad Eireann (60 seats; 49 members elected by the universities and from candidates put forward by five vocational panels, 11 are nominated by the prime minister; members serve five-year terms) and the lower house of Parliament or Dail Eireann (166 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve five-year terms)
elections:
Senate - last held in 27 April 2011 (next to be held 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, independents 12; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - Fine Gael 45.8%, Labor Party 22.3%, Fianna Fail 12.0%, Sinn Fein 8.4%, United Left Alliance 3.0%, New Vision 0.6%, independents 7.8%; seats by party - Fine Gael 76, Labor Party 37, Fianna Fail 20, Sinn Fein 14, United Left Alliance 5, New Vision 1, independents 13; note - after November 2009 disbandment of the Progressive Democrats, the two members of the Senate continued as independent DPs
on 8 November 2008, delegates voted to disband the Progressive Democrats, and in November 2009 it officially stopped operating as a political party
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (Court of Final Appeal) (judges appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister and cabinet); Courts of First Instance (includes High Court)
Political parties and leaders
Fianna Fail [Michael MARTIN]; Fine Gael [Enda KENNY]; Green Party [Eamon RYAN]; Labor Party [Eamon GILMORE]; New Vision; Sinn Fein [Gerry ADAMS]; Socialist Party [Joe HIGGINS]; The Workers' Party [Michael FINNEGAN]; United Left Alliance
Political pressure groups and leaders
Families Acting for Innocent Relatives or FAIR [Brian MCCONNELL] (seek compensation for victims of violence); Families Against Intimidation and Terror or FAIT (oppose terrorism); Gaeltacht Civil Rights Campaign (Coiste Cearta Sibhialta na Gaeilge) or CCSG (encourages the use of the Irish language and campaigns for greater civil rights in Irish speaking areas); Iona Institute [David QUINN] (a conservative Catholic think tank); Irish Anti-War Movement [Richard BOYD BARRETT] (campaigns against wars around the world); Irish Republican Army or IRA (terrorist group); Keep Ireland Open (environmental group); Midland Railway Action Group or MRAG [Willie ALLEN] (transportation promoters); 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 a fully sovereign Ireland); Ulster Defence Association or UDA (terrorist group)
International organization participation
ADB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNOCI, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Michael COLLINS
chancery:
2234 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 462-3939
FAX:
[1] (202) 232-5993
consulate(s) general:
Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Daniel ROONEY
embassy:
42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
mailing address:
use embassy street address
telephone:
[353] (1) 668-8777
FAX:
[353] (1) 668-9946
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
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
National anthem
name:
"Amhran na bhFiann" (The Soldier's Song)
lyrics/music:
Peadar KEARNEY [English], Liam O RINN [Irish]/Patrick HEENEY and Peadar KEARNEY
adopted 1926; instead of "Amhran na bhFiann," the song "Ireland's Call" is often used in athletic events where citizens of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland compete as a unified team
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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