2.Geographics.Ireland, Republic of (Gaelic Éire), republic comprising about five-sixths of the island of Ireland. the country consists of the provinces of Leinster, Munster, and Connaught (Connacht) and part of the province of Ulster. the rest of Ulster, which occupies the northeastern part of the island, constitutes Northern Ireland, a constituent part of Great Britain. the republic has a total area of 70,283 sq km (27,136 sq mi).
3Population.The population of Ireland is predominantly of Celtic origin No significant ethnic minorities exist. Characteristics of the population of the Irish Republic is 3,540,643., giving the country an overall population density of about 50 persons per sq km (about 129 per sq mi). The population decreased from the 1840s, when about 6.5 million persons lived in the area included in the republic, until about 1970, largely because of a high emigration rate. In the 1980's, the population increased at an annual rate of only 0.5%. About 57% of the population live in urban areas.
4.Cities & Counties.For administrative purposes, Ireland is divided into 27 counties, most of which are described in separate articles, and 5 county boroughs, which are coextensive with the cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford. The following counties are in Ireland: Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois (Laoighis), Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, and Wicklow, in Leinster Province; Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary North Riding, Tipperary South Riding, and Waterford, in Munster Province; Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo, in Connaught (Connacht) Province; and Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan, in Ulster Province. The capital and largest city is Dublin, with a population of 920,956. Cork is the second largest city and a major port, with a population of 173,694. Other cities and towns, important primarily as trading centers for produce, with their population figures include Limerick (76,557) and Waterford (41,054).
5. Religion and Language.About 94% of the people of Ireland are Roman Catholics, and less than 4% are Protestants. Protestant groups include the Church of Ireland (Anglican) and the Presbyterian and Methodist denominations. Freedom of worship is guaranteed by the constitution. Almost all the people speak English, and about one-fourth also speak Irish, a Gaelic language that is the traditional tongue of Ireland. Irish is spoken as the vernacular by a relatively small number of people, however, mostly in areas of the west. The constitution provides for both Irish and English as official languages.
6.Education.Irish influence on Western education began 14 centuries ago. From the 6th to the 8th century, when western Europe was largely illiterate, nearly 1000 Irish missionaries traveled to England and the Continent to teach Christianity. During the early Middle Ages, Irish missionaries founded monasteries that achieved extensive cultural influence; the monastery at Sankt Gallen (Saint Gall), Switzerland, is especially famous for its contributions to education and literature. Classical studies flowered in ancient Ireland. Distinctive also at the time were the bardic schools of writers and other learned men who traveled from town to town, teaching their arts to students. The bardic schools, an important part of Irish education, were suppressed in the 16th century by Henry VIII, king of England. University education in Ireland began with the founding of the University of Dublin, or Trinity College, in 1592. The National University of Ireland, established in 1908 in Dublin, has constituent university colleges in Cork, Dublin, and Galway; another leading college is Saint Patrick's College (1795), in Maynooth, affiliated with the National University. The Irish language has been taught in all government-subsidized schools since 1922, but fewer than 10,000 pupils speak it as their first language. Ireland has a free public school system, with attendance compulsory for all children between 6 and 15 years of age. In the late 1980s some 574,000 pupils were enrolled annually in about 3440 elementary schools. Secondary schools, primarily operated by religious orders and largely subsidized by the state, numbered nearly 600, with an annual enrollment of approximately 234,000. Yearly enrollment at universities and colleges totaled about 59,500. Ireland also has several state-subsidized training colleges, various technical colleges in the larger communities, and a network of winter classes that provide agricultural instruction for rural inhabitants.
7.Culture & the Arts.It is probable that Ireland was first occupied by Neolithic people, users of flint, and then by the small, dark, warlike people from the Mediterranean, users of bronze, who are known in legend as the Firbolgs. Later came the Picts, also an immigrant people of the Bronze Age. Extensive traces of the culture of this early period survive in the form of stone monuments (menhirs, dolmens, and cromlechs) and stone forts, dating from 2000 to 1000 bc. During the Iron Age, the Celtic invasion (circa 350 bc) introduced a new cultural strain into Ireland, one that was to predominate. The oldest relics of the Celtic (Gaelic) language can be seen in the 5th-century Ogham stone inscriptions in county Kerry. Ireland was Christianized by St. Patrick in the 5th century. The churches and monasteries founded by him and his successors became the fountainhead from which Christian art and refinement permeated the crude and warlike Celtic way of life. Ireland is famous for its contributions to world literature (see Gaelic Literature; Irish Literature). Two great mythological cycles in Gaelic—the Ulster (Red Branch) and the Fenian (Ossianic)—tell the stories of such legendary heroes as Cú Chulainn (Cuchulain), Maeve Medb), Finn mac Cumhail (Finn MacCool), and Deirdre. After a long and bitter colonization by England, Ireland gave the world some of the greatest writers in the English language, including Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, and George Bernard Shaw. Associated with the struggle for independence in this century is the Irish literary revival, which produced the works of William Butler Yeats and Sean O'Casey. James Joyce was a formative influence on much of later 20th-century European literature. Saint Patrick's Day, March 17, is the most important national holiday in Ireland. The national sports are hurling, a strenuous game similar to field hockey, and Gaelic football, which resembles soccer. Horse racing is a highly popular spectator sport throughout the republic. From the 5th to the 9th century the Irish monasteries produced artworks of world renown, primarily in the form of illuminated manuscripts. The greatest such work is the Book of Kells, which has some of the most beautiful calligraphy of the Middle Ages (see Celts: Art). Native art seems to have disappeared during the period of English domination, but after the 17th century a number of Irish painters and sculptors achieved fame. The Irish painters George Barret (1732-84), James Barry (1741-1806), and Nathaniel Hone (1718-84) were cofounders, with Sir Joshua Reynolds, of the Royal Academy in 1768. James Arthur O'Connor (1791-1812) was a noted landscape artist of his period, and Daniel Maclise (1806-70) painted the magnificent frescoes in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords. Notable among Irish painters of the 19th century were Nathaniel Hone, Jr. (1831-1917), and Walter F. Osborne (1859-1903). More recently, the expressionist painter Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957), the cubist painter Mainie Jellett (1897-1944), and the stained-glass artist Evie Hone (1894-1955) have achieved widespread recognition and acclaim for their work. rish harpers were known throughout Europe as early as the 12th century. The most celebrated of these was the blind harper Torlogh O'Carolan, or Carolan (1670-1738), who composed about 200 songs on varied themes, many of which were published in Dublin in 1720. About the same time, an annual folk festival called the feis was instituted, devoted to the preservation and encouragement of harping. Irish folk music ranges from lullabies to drinking songs, and many variations and nuances of tempo, rhythm, and tonality are used. At the Belfast Harpers' Festival in 1792, Edward Bunting (1773-1843) made a collection of traditional Irish songs and melodies, which he published in 1796. Thomas Moore, the great Irish poet, made extensive use of Bunting's work in his well-known Irish Melodies, first published in 1807. Classical forms of music were not widely known in Ireland until the 18th century. Pianist John Field was the first Irish composer to win international renown, with his nocturnes. Michael William Balfe (1808-70) is well known for his opera The Bohemian Girl. Among the most prominent of Irish performing artists was the concert and operatic tenor John McCormack. The most important Irish libraries and museums are in Dublin. The National Library of Ireland, with more than 500,000 volumes, is the largest public library in the country. Trinity College Library, founded in 1601, contains about 2.8 million volumes, including the Book of Kells. Together with exhibits in the fields of art, industry, and natural history, and representative collections of Irish silver, glass, textiles and lace, the National Museum houses outstanding specimens of the remarkable metal craftsmanship of the early Christian period in Ireland, including the Tara Brooch, the Ardagh Chalice, and the Moylough Bell Shrine (all dating from the 8th century), as well as the Lismore Crozier and the Cross of Cong (both 12th century). The National Gallery in Dublin has an admirable collection of paintings of all schools. Most cities have public libraries and small museums. Interest in the theater is strong in Ireland. The famed Abbey Theatre and the Gale Theatre, both in Dublin, receive government grants. The Arts Council, a body appointed by the prime minister, gives grants to arts organizations and publishers; the Gael-Linn promotes the Irish language and culture.
8.Economy.The economy of Ireland has been traditionally agricultural. Since the mid-1950s, however, the country's industrial base has expanded, and now mining, manufacturing, construction, and public utilities account for approximately 37% of the gross domestic product and agriculture for only about 12%. Private enterprise operates in most sectors of the economy.The agricultural enterprise producing the most income is animal husbandry. In the late 1980s livestock included some 5.6 million cattle, 4.3 million sheep, 960,000 hogs, and 55,000 horses. Poultry production is also important. The principal field crops are wheat, barley, oats, and potatoes. Among other important crops are hay, turnips, and sugar beets. The best farmlands are found in the east and southeast. The government of Ireland has undertaken extensive schemes of reforestation in an effort to reduce the country's dependence on timber imports and to provide raw material for new paper mills and related industries. In the late 1980s forestland occupied nearly 5% of Ireland's total area; the annual output of roundwood was 1.2 million cu m (42.3 million cu ft). The fishing industry, which has traditionally been underdeveloped, is expanding; the annual catch in the late 1980s was some 247,400 metric tons. Deep-sea catches include herring, cod, mackerel, whiting, and plaice. Crustaceans, particularly lobsters, crawfish, and prawns, and such mollusks as oysters and periwinkles, are plentiful in coastal waters and form the bulk of the country's seafood exports. The inland rivers and lakes provide excellent fishing for salmon, trout, eel, and several varieties of coarse fish. Although mining plays a relatively minor role in the Irish economy, discoveries of new deposits in recent decades have led to a considerable expansion of mineral production. Annual mineral output in the late 1980s included about 45,000 metric tons of coal, 177,000 metric tons of zinc, and 33,800 metric tons of lead. Ireland is one of the leading exporters of lead and zinc in Europe. Natural gas is extracted off the southwestern coast; yearly output in the mid-1980s was 1.6 billion cu m (56.5 billion cu ft). Peat is dug in large quantities for domestic and industrial fuel and also for horticultural purposes; annual output in the late 1980s was 6.3 million tons. Ireland has diversified manufacturing, most of it developed since 1930. Among the food-processing industries, the most important are meat packing, brewing and distilling, grain milling, sugar refining, and the manufacture of dairy products, margarine, confections, and jam. Other important manufactured articles include office machinery and data-processing equipment; electrical machinery; tobacco products; woolen and worsted goods; clothing; cement; furniture; soap; candles; building materials; footwear; cotton, rayon, and linen textiles; hosiery; paper; leather; machinery; refined petroleum; and chemicals. The Irish pound (0.7 pounds equal U.S.$1; 1998) is the basic unit of currency, and is one of the strongest currencies in the world having gained 30% against the mighty US Dollar in the nineties. Before March 1979, the Irish pound was exchangeable at a par with the British pound sterling. The Central Bank of Ireland, established in 1942, is the bank of issue. Associated with the Central Bank are the leading commercial (or associated) banks with their networks of local branches. Mergers have reduced the number of these associated banks. On the other hand, the number of merchant banking houses has increased, and leading North American and continental European banks now have offices in Dublin. Trustee banks and the Post Office Savings Bank mainly serve small individual accounts. Commerce and Trade:Dublin and Cork are the manufacturing, financial, and commercial centers of Ireland. Dublin is the most important seaport; Cork is the main port for transatlantic passenger travel. Other significant ports include Dún Laoghaire, Waterford, Rosslare, and Limerick. Ireland became a member of the European Community (EC) in 1973, thus expanding the market for the country's important agricultural exports. Imports in the late 1980s totaled about $14.6 billion annually, and exports, including reexports, about $18.4 billion. The major trading partners of Ireland include Great Britain, Germany, the United States, France, and Japan. The most important exports include electric and electronic equipment, livestock, meat, dairy products, chemicals, and textiles and clothing; about two-thirds of all exports are to EC countries. Imports are primarily machinery, transport equipment, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, cereals and foodstuffs, textiles, and iron and steel. Tourism has been effectively promoted and has increased steadily in importance. By the late 1980s, some 2.7 million tourists annually generated approximately $1 billion for the economy of Ireland. Transportation and Communications: Ireland has 2700 km (1680 mi) of railway track, all operated by the state-owned Irish Transport Company and linking all important points on the island. The highway system totals about 92,300 km (about 57,350 mi), of which about 94% was paved. Navigable inland waterways total about 435 km (about 270 mi). International airports are located at Shannon, Dublin, and Cork, and several international air-transport systems provide regular service between Ireland and major cities throughout the world. All postal, telegraph, telephone, and broadcasting services are operated by government agencies or statutory bodies. In the mid-1980s about 942,000 telephones were in use. Radio Telefís Éireann, the public broadcasting authority, operated three radio channels and two television channels. In the late 1980s radios in use numbered about 2.1 million and television receivers, approximately 937,000. Labor:In the late 1980s the total labor force was about 1.3 million, of which approximately 13% was engaged in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Some 667,000 workers in both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland are members of unions affiliated with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
9.Government.The government of Ireland is based on the constitution of 1937, as amended. This document proclaims Ireland a sovereign, independent, democratic state. The constitution also defines the national territory as the whole of Ireland. The country became a republic in 1949. Executive power under the Irish constitution is vested in the government (cabinet), consisting of about 15 members. The government, responsible to the lower house of the national legislature, is headed by the taoiseach, or prime minister. This official is nominated by the lower house and appointed by the president. The members of the government head the various administrative departments, or ministries. They are nominated by the prime minister and, subject to the approval of the lower house, appointed by the president. The president of Ireland is the head of state and is elected by direct popular vote for a 7-year term. Legislative authority is vested in a bicameral legislature known as the Oireachtas. This is composed of a 166-member lower house, or Dáil Éireann, and a 60-member senate, or Seanad Éireann. The members of the Dáil are elected for terms of up to five years by proportional representation. Eleven members of the senate are selected by the prime minister and six members are elected by the universities. The remaining 43 members of the senate are elected by an electoral college consisting of about 900 members from the county borough councils, county councils, the Dáil, and the senate. The elected members of the senate are chosen from candidates representing national culture, labor, agriculture and fisheries, public administration and social services, and commerce and industry. The senate may not veto legislation enacted by the Dáil and is otherwise restricted in authority. Judicial authority in Ireland is vested in a supreme court, a high court, a court of criminal appeal, and circuit and district courts. All of the judges of these courts are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the government. The system of proportional representation by which members are elected to the Dáil favors a multiplicity of political parties representing special interests. In recent years, however, four parties have emerged as the most powerful: Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, the Progressive Democrats. and Labour. Local Government: County councils, county borough corporations, borough corporations, urban district councils, and town commissioners are charged with responsibility for most locally administered services , including health and sanitation, housing, water supply, and libraries. Members are elected to these local bodies by popular vote, generally for 5-year terms. Local executive organization is based on the manager system. A central appointments commission in Dublin chooses the executive manager of local authorities by examination. Local government generally is supervised by the department of local government.
10.Health and Welfare.Most health services are provided free of charge for low-income groups and at moderate charges for others, through local and national agencies. The department of health administers all official health services. A nonprofit, contributory voluntary health insurance scheme is administered by an independent statutory agency. The department of social welfare administers the official compulsory insurance and assistance programs, which include pensions for the aged, widows, and orphans; children's allowances; unemployment benefits; and other social security schemes. Defense: The total strength of the permanent Irish defense force, including all army, navy, and air corps personnel, is about 13,000. The reserve defense force numbers about 16,100. Enlistment for all services is voluntary.
11.Potato Famine(1847).The famine was caused by a lack of foresight of a world revolving into an industrial society where agricultural remained the main source of the Irish ecomomy. A combination of greedy landlords and the controlling English Goverment's dramatic reduction in Irish agricultural investments, primarly potatoes, led to increased unemployment and poverty resulting in to tens-of-thousands of victims developing typhus diseases and many of these dying, forcing many others to migrate,primarily to America, reducing the Irish population to 6.5 million by 1951 down from 8 million in 1841.
12.The Easter Rising of 1916 rebels seized the General Post Office in Dublin proclaiming a provisional government for the Irish Republic, but were defeated.
13.Irish liberation from British rule was achieved as the result of a struggle extending over several centuries and marked by numerous rebellions. Following the Easter Rebellion, an uprising of Irish nationalists on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, Sinn Fein became the most influential political party in Ireland. This party, founded in 1900 by Arthur Griffith, a Dublin journalist, campaigned in the parliamentary election of 1918 on a program that called for the severance of all ties with Great Britain, an end to the separatist movement in northern Ireland, and the establishment of an Irish republic. Candidates of Sinn Fein won 73 of the 106 seats allotted to Ireland in the British Parliament. The Irish Revolution (1919-22). In January 1919 the Sinn Fein members of Parliament assembled in Dublin as the Dáil Éireann, or national assembly. Proclaiming the independence of Ireland, the Dáil forthwith formed a government, with Eamon De Valera as president. There followed guerrilla attacks by Irish insurgents, later called the Irish Republican Army (IRA), on British forces, particularly the Royal Irish Constabulary, called the Black and Tans; and the British instituted vigorous reprisals. In the course of the war, the British Parliament enacted, in December 1920, a Home Rule Bill, providing separate parliaments for six counties of Ulster Province and for the remainder of Ireland. By the terms of the bill, Great Britain retained effective control of Irish affairs. The people of Northern Ireland, as the six counties in Ulster Province were known, ratified the legislation in May 1921 and elected a parliament. Although the rest of Ireland also elected a parliament in May, the Sinn Feiners, constituting an overwhelming majority outside of Ulster, refused to recognize the other provisions of the Home Rule Bill. The warfare against the British continued until July 10, 1921, when a truce was arranged. Subsequent negotiations led to the signing, in December 1921, of a peace treaty by representatives of the second Dáil Éireann and the British government. By the terms of the treaty, all of Ireland except the six counties constituting Northern Ireland was to receive dominion status identical with that of Canada. After considerable debate, in which the opposition, led by De Valera, objected strenuously to a provision that virtually guaranteed a separate government in Northern Ireland and to an article that required members of the Dáil to swear allegiance to the British sovereign, the Dáil ratified the treaty on January 15, 1922, by a vote of 64 to 57. Ratification brought into being the Irish Free State, with Arthur Griffith as president and Michael Collins, who was another prominent member of Sinn Fein, as chairman of the provisional government. The Irish Free State (1922-37) Under the leadership of De Valera, the dissident Sinn Fein group, termed the Republicans and later known as Fianna Fáil, called for a resumption of the struggle against Great Britain and instituted a campaign, including insurrectionary acts, against the provisional government. With the question of the treaty the chief issue, an election for a provisional Dáil was held in June 1922. Candidates supporting the treaty won a majority of the seats. The Republicans, refusing to recognize the authority of the new Dáil, proclaimed a rival government and intensified their attacks on the Irish Free State. In the course of the ensuing struggle, hundreds were killed on both sides, and many prominent Republican leaders were executed. while, the Dáil, headed now by William Thomas Cosgrave, drafted a constitution providing for a bicameral legislature (Dáil and Saenad, or senate), which was adopted on October 11, 1922. Following approval by the British Parliament, it became operative on December 6. The official government of the Irish Free State was instituted at once, with Cosgrave assuming office as president of the executive council. In April 1923 the Republicans declared a truce in hostilities in order to participate in the forthcoming national elections, and public order was gradually restored. Neither the Sinn Fein party nor the Republican party secured a majority in the elections held late in August 1923. The Republicans boycotted the Dáil, however, and Cosgrave, supported by a coalition of parties, retained power. The boundary between the Free State and Northern Ireland was established in December 1925. During the next few years, agreement was reached with the British government on various mutual problems, and the national economy was substantially strengthened by a series of measures, including the initiation of a hydroelectric project on the Shannon River. Although the Republicans gradually increased their representation in the Dáil during this period, they continued their boycott until August 1927. They then assumed their 57 seats in the newly elected Dáil. Partly as a result of the failure of the government to cope with domestic difficulties brought on by the world economic crisis of the early 1930s, Cosgrave's party lost several seats to the Republicans in the elections of February 1932. De Valera thereupon became head of the government. Legislation that he sponsored in the following April included provisions for the abrogation of the oath of allegiance to the British crown. This bill, which also would have virtually ended the political ties between Great Britain and the Free State, received the approval of the Dáil, but was rejected, in effect, by the Saenad. In his next move against the British, De Valera withheld payment of certain land purchase annuities that the British claimed were legally due them. The withholding of the payment of annuities led to a protracted tariff war between the two countries, with serious damage to the economy of the Free State. In another significant move, De Valera secured repeal of a law restricting the activities of the IRA. The electorate registered approval of his program in elections held in January 1933, in which a majority of Republicans were returned to the Dáil. With this mandate from the people, De Valera systematically developed his program for the gradual elimination of British influence in Irish affairs, obtaining abrogation of the oath of allegiance, restrictions on the role of the governor-general who represented the British crown, and other measures. Simultaneously, the government initiated measures designed to give the country a self-sufficient economy. Steps taken included high income taxes on the rich, high protective tariffs, and control of foreign capital invested in Irish industry. In June 1935, De Valera severed his political ties with the IRA, which had been extremely critical of many of his policies, and imprisoned a number of its leaders. It became general knowledge, meanwhile, that the draft of a new constitution was in progress. In 1936 the Republicans, in coalition with other groups in the Dáil, finally secured passage of legislation abolishing the Saenad, long inimical to De Valera's policies. The Dáil functioned as a unicameral legislature for the remainder of its term. In connection with the events surrounding the abdication of Edward VIII, king of Great Britain, the Dáil enacted in 1936 a bill that deleted all references to the king from the constitution of the Free State and abolished the office of governor-general. Parallel legislation, which was known as the External Relations Act of 1936, restricted the association of the Free State with the British Commonwealth of Nations to joint action on certain questions involving external policy, specifically the approval of the trade treaties of the Free State and the appointment of its foreign envoys in the name of the British crown. 11.Eire (1937-49).The 5-year term of office of the Dáil expired in June 1937. In the subsequent election the Republican party won a plurality of the seats in the Dáil. The new constitution, which abolished the Irish Free State and established Eire as a “sovereign independent democratic state,” was approved by the voters in a plebiscite conducted simultaneously with the election. This document provided for a new senate of 60 members. Although the constitution specifically applied to all Ireland, it provided that the laws of Eire should be executed, pending unification with Northern Ireland, only within the territory of the republic. The constitution contained no references to the British sovereign or to the Commonwealth of Nations. A subsequent statement by De Valera indicated, however, that Eire's relations with Great Britain would be governed by the External Relations Act of 1936. In 1938 the Irish writer and patriot Douglas Hyde became the first president of Eire, and De Valera became prime minister. Through a treaty adopted in April 1938, the tariff war between Eire and Great Britain was concluded. The latter agreed to withdraw its forces from naval bases in Eire, and Eire agreed to a settlement of the annuities owed to Great Britain. The slight improvement in relations between the two nations was marred by a violent terrorist campaign in Great Britain conducted by the IRA. Eire maintained neutrality in World War II, although many thousands of Irish citizens joined the Allied forces or worked in British war industry. In the immediate postwar era, the economic dislocations in Great Britain and Europe subjected the economy of Eire to severe strains, resulting in a period of rapid inflation and, indirectly, in the defeat of Fianna Fáil in the elections of February 1948. De Valera was defeated in the Dáil for the prime ministry by John Aloysius Costello, candidate of a six-party coalition opposed to Fianna Fáil. Costello, a former attorney general, called for lower prices and taxes, the expansion of industrial production, and closer commercial relations with Great Britain. Republic of Ireland, On Easter Monday, April 18, 1949, by the terms of the Republic of Ireland Bill approved by the Dáil in November 1948, Eire became the Republic of Ireland, formally free of allegiance to the British crown and the Commonwealth of Nations. In the following month, the British Parliament approved a bill continuing the status of Northern Ireland as a part of Great Britain and extending to citizens of the republic resident in Britain the same rights as British citizens. Similar legal provision was made by the Eire government in respect of British citizens resident in Eire. The republic became a member of the United Nations on December 14, 1955, when the General Assembly approved the admission of 4 Communist and 12 non-Communist nations.
14.Economic Gains.Although inflation and an unfavorable balance of trade remained difficult problems, Ireland made significant strides toward economic stability through the 1950s and '60s. In 1964 the government completed a five-year plan of economic development, which exceeded its goals. A feature of the program was the offer of tax incentives to foreign investors. Partly as a result of such programs, the rate of economic growth increased from about 1 percent per year in the 1950s to more than 4.5 percent in the late 1960s. It was officially reported in 1964 that more than 200 factories had begun production since 1955, most of them with foreign participation. A second plan began that year with a goal by 1970 of a net increase of 50 percent in the gross national product over the 1960 level. The improving economic circumstances were regarded as the main cause of a decline in emigration, ending a population decline that had continued unabated for more than a century. Political Developments. With economic stability came a new measure of political stability and a decline in traditional anti-British feeling. As early as 1957 Prime Minister Costello, who regarded the terrorist activities of the IRA as damaging to relations with Great Britain and tending to prolong the partition of Ireland, had called for forceful action against the organization. Costello was defeated for reelection, but early in 1958 his successor, De Valera, publicly agreed that unity could not be achieved by force. In June 1959, De Valera, at the age of 77, was elected president, and Seán Francis Lemass (1899-1971), deputy prime minister, became prime minister. Opposition to IRA activity, plus a decline in the active membership, led to the announcement in February 1962 that the group had abandoned violence. Nevertheless, Ireland continued to suffer occasional acts of terrorism. In 1966 Prime Minister Lemass resigned. The Fianna Fáil won the ensuing elections, and John Mary Lynch became prime minister. To reduce unemployment and increase exports, he tried to build up industry in order . An increase of violence between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland was followed by IRA terrorist activity in the Irish Republic. In 1971 the Dáil banned the purchase or holding of arms for use outside Ireland. In 1972 the government required the surrender of all firearms. Also in early 1972 Ireland signed a treaty joining the European Community, effective January 1, 1973,a move favored by 83 percent of the voters; and, by referendum, ended the special constitutional status of the Roman Catholic church. Shifts in Power: Hoping to strengthen his party, Lynch called elections in February 1973. A coalition of the Fine Gael and Labour parties gained a slim majority, however, and Fine Gael leader Liam Cosgrave became prime minister. Fianna Fáil returned to power in a government headed by Lynch in 1977; in 1979 Lynch was replaced by Charles Haughey (1925- ). In the late 1970s and early '80s the Irish government faced increased domestic terrorism by extremist Irish nationalists. Ireland also had a high rate of inflation and suffered some economic dislocation from membership in the European Community. Amid rising unemployment, elections were held in 1981, and the coalition government was led briefly by Garret FitzGerald (1926- ), head of Fine Gael. Inconclusive elections in February 1982 returned Haughey to power, but another election, in late 1982, brought FitzGerald back. In 1985 FitzGerald signed a pact with Great Britain giving the Irish Republic a consultive role in governing Northern Ireland. The collapse of the FitzGerald government in January 1987 led to new elections one month later. Haughey won a single-vote majority in the Dáil Éireann and became prime minister once again. FitzGerald subsequently resigned as Fine Gael leader. After inconclusive elections in June 1989, Haughey formed a new coalition government. In November 1990, Mary Robinson (1944- ), a feminist lawyer who ran with Labour and Workers' party backing, became the first woman ever to win election as president of Ireland. Haughey resigned as prime minister and leader of Fianna Fáil in early 1992, amid allegations of scandal; his former finance minister, Albert Reynolds (1932- ), was chosen to replace him. In June 1992, Irish voters ratified a treaty strengthening political and monetary integration within the European Community. Mary McAleese (1951) succeeded Ms. Robinson in 1997 as President. Born of a Catholic Belfast family, Ms. McAleese is actually not a citizen of Ireland but Great Britan,and because residents of Northern Ireland can hold office in the Republic, such was the case for the new president whose views and are nearly identical to that of Ms. Robinson.
15.Tomorrow?With a strong currency, the arrival of numerous hi-tech companies which will keep many of Ireland's talented residents in the country... To be continued, hopefully with a happy ending, one that has to be better than Ireland's past.....