Background: The failed Easter Second Uprising of 1916 set off a years-long guerrilla war that ended in 1921 with the independence of 26 southern counties; six northern counties (Ulster) remained in the UK. In 1948 Ireland withdrew from the British Commonwealth and in 1973 joined the European Community. The Irish government is looking for a way to peacefully unite Ireland and is cooperating with the UK in the fight against terrorist groups. The Northern Ireland Peace Agreement, reached in 1998, went into effect the following year.
Location: Western Europe, occupies five-sixths of the territory of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Great Britain.
Geographical coordinates: 53° 00′ N. latitude, 8° 00′ W
Reference map: Europe.
Area: total: 70,280 km2; land surface area: 68,890 km2; water surface area: 1,390 km2
Comparative area: slightly larger than the state of West Virginia.
Land borders: total: 360 km; with neighboring states: with Great Britain 360 km.
Coastline: 1,448 km.
Maritime claims: continental shelf: not defined; zone of exclusive right to fish: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: temperate maritime; moderated by the North Atlantic Current; winters are mild, summers are cool; constant high humidity; about half the days of the year are cloudy.
Relief: in the interior of the country, mostly hilly plains surrounded by low mountains; sea cliffs on the west coast.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Carrantwill 1,041 m.
Natural resources: zinc, lead, natural gas, barite, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, peat, silver.
Land use: arable land: 13%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 68%; forests and plantations: 5%; others: 14% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: no data.
Natural hazards: no data available.
Actual environmental problems: water pollution, especially lakes, agricultural waste.
International agreements on environmental protection: contributor: Air Pollution, Air Pollution – Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution – Sulfur 1994, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Change, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical timber 1983, Tropical timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling; signed but not ratified: Air Pollution – Persistent Organic Pollutants, Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Marine Life Conservation.
Geography note: strategic location on major air and sea routes linking North America with Northern Europe; over 40% of the population lives within a 97 km radius of Dublin.
Population: 3,840,838 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 21.57% (male 425,328; female 403,204); 15 to 64 years old: 67.08% (male 1,290,002; female 1,286,312); over 65: 11.35% (male 188,868; female 247,124) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.12% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 14.57 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 8.07 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 4.69 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 1 male/female; over 65: 0.76 male/female; for the general population: 0.98 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 5.53 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 76.99 years; men: 74.23 years; women: 79.93 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.9 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.1% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 2,200 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Irish; adjective: Irish.
Ethnic groups: Celts, English.
Believers: Roman Catholic 91.6%, Church of Ireland 2.5%, other 5.9% (1998)
Languages): English is the language of everyday communication, Irish (Gaelic), which is spoken mainly by residents of the west coast.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 98% (1981 est.); men: no data; women: no data.
Conventional long form: does not exist;
Common short form: Ireland.
State structure: republic. See a2zgov.com to know more about Ireland government and politics.
Administrative divisions: 26 counties: Galway, Donegal, Dublin, Cavan, Carlow, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Clare, Cork, Louth, Limerick, Leitrim, Only, Longford, Mayo, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary, Wicklow, Waterford, Wexford, Westmeath.
Independence: since December 6, 1921 (withdrew from Great Britain according to the treaty).
National holiday: St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.
Constitution: December 29, 1937; adopted by plebiscite July 1, 1937
Legal system: based on English common law, greatly modified by local customs; revision of legislative acts in the Supreme Court is allowed; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: President Mary MCALEESE (since 11 November 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Bertie AHERN (since 26 June 1997)
Government: the Cabinet of Ministers is appointed by the President after nominations by the Prime Minister and approval by the House of Representatives; elections: the president is directly elected for a 7-year term; elections last held 31 October 1997 (next to be held in November 2004); the prime minister is nominated by the House of Representatives and appointed by the president; election results: Mary McAleese elected president; percent of the vote – Mary McAleese 44.8%, Mary BANOTTI (Mary BANOTTI) 29.6%; note: the ruling coalition is Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats.
Legislature: distribution of votes by parties – no data; seats – Fianna Fail 76, Fine Gal 54, Labor Party 21, Progressive Democrats 4, Green Union 2, Socialist Party 1, Sinn Féin 1, Independents 7.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Left Party (Proinches DE ROSSA [Proin-sias DE ROSSA]); Fianna Fail (Bertie AHERN); Fine Gal (Michael NOONAN [Michael NOONAN]); Green Union (Mary BOWERS); Labor Party (Ruairi QUINN); Progressive Democrats (Mary HARNEY); Sinn Féin (Gerry ADAMS); Socialist Party (Joe HIGGINS [Joe HIGGINS]); Working Party (Tom FRENCH [Tom FRENCH]).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, EBRD, ECE, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, MINURSO, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNTAET, UNTSO, UPU, WEU (observer), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC.
US Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Sean O’HUIGINN; office: 2234 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 462-3939; fax:  (202) 232-5993; consulates general: Boston, New York, San Francisco, Chicago.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Michael SULLIVAN; embassy: 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4; postal address: use the address of the embassy; phone:  (1) 668-7122, 668-8777; fax:  (1) 668-9946.
Description of the flag: three identical vertical stripes of green (hoist side), white and orange; reminiscent of the flag of Côte d’Ivoire, which is shorter and whose colors are in reverse order: orange (side adjacent to the hoist side), white and green; also similar to the flag of Italy, which is shorter and has stripes of green (hoist side), white and red.