countryaah, Ireland's economy is largely focused on exports of goods
and services, as the domestic market is relatively small.
Gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 was USD 353.3 billion.
GDP per capita was $ 73,200 that year, which is among the
highest in the world.
Ireland has traditionally been an agricultural country
with little industry. In 1949, almost half of the country's
jobs were related to agriculture. In 2015, only five per
cent of the working population was employed in the
agricultural industry, while industry and especially service
industries had grown correspondingly.
From the mid-1990s, the Irish authorities have introduced
a series of economic reforms to reduce inflation and promote
foreign investment. The result is that there are a number of
foreign companies in the country. This has contributed to a
sharp increase in the number of jobs and a reduction in
Ireland introduced the euro as currency in 2002, along
with eleven other EU countries.
Agriculture is of great importance, but still plays less
role today than before. In 2004, agriculture (including
forestry and fishing) accounted for 6.4 per cent of
employment and 3.2 per cent of GDP. In 2017, the figures had
dropped to 5 and 1.2 per cent respectively. Membership of
the EC in 1973 gave Irish farmers access to larger markets,
and agricultural income increased significantly during the
first five-year period. Initially, Ireland received
significant funding from the regional aid schemes, but
during the 1980s much of it was redirected to the member
states of southern Europe. Together with the general
agricultural crisis within the Union, including large
surplus stocks, this has created difficulties for the
agricultural industry in Ireland.
Irish agriculture is mainly a mixed field of agricultural
and livestock farming, where most of the income comes from
livestock farming. The farms are small, and many are run as
family farms or in combination with other industries. Grain
cultivation (barley, wheat, oats) is particularly important
in the east and southeast. Potatoes, turnips and sugar beets
are also grown. Dairy farming dominates in the south and
sheep in the higher parts of the country, especially in the
Despite the relatively rich coastal waters around
Ireland, fisheries play a minor role in the country's
economy. Moreover, domestic fish consumption is very low by
Western European scale. The most important fish species are
mackerel and herring. In the estuaries and in the rivers,
commercial fishing is conducted for salmon and eel.
Mining and energy
Ireland has deposits of oil and natural gas, lead, zinc,
silver and copper. Europe's largest lead and zinc mine was
opened in 1977 in Navan. Outside the south coast, valuable
discoveries of both oil and natural gas have been made.
Natural gas, which is extracted from the Kinsale field, is
used both for power generation and in households.
The production of electric power comes from natural gas,
oil, peat, coal and hydropower. To reduce the dependence on
imported energy carriers, the production of peat and
domestic coal has been increased.
Industry employs (together with mining, construction and
civil engineering) 11 per cent of the working population
(2015) and contributes 38.6 per cent (2017) of GDP. The
rapid industrial growth Ireland underwent from the 1960s
onwards resulted in a rough transition from a small industry
aimed at the domestic market to a high-tech,
capital-intensive and export-oriented industry. These
companies are largely on foreign hands.
Main industries are electronic, pharmaceutical and
chemical industries. In addition, the traditional food and
beverage industry comes with slaughterhouses, breweries,
distilleries, mills, sugar refineries and canning factories.
Furthermore, machinery and transport equipment, textiles and
clothing are manufactured. Most of the industry is located
in and around the capital Dublin and adjacent to Shannon
Main export goods are machinery and equipment, computers,
chemicals, pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals, meat and dairy
products. The main import goods are computer equipment,
machinery, chemicals, petroleum products and textiles.
Throughout history, Ireland has been financially
dependent on the United Kingdom. However, when the Irish
joined the EC in 1973, one of the goals was to reduce
dependence on neighboring countries. Trade with the United
Kingdom and Northern Ireland has declined sharply in recent
years. Other important trading partners are the United
States, Germany, France and Belgium.
Foreign trade as a percentage by country (2017)
Transport and Communications
Ireland has a well-developed road network with
consistently good standards. The 4301 kilometer (2018)
railway network is of secondary importance. Air traffic is
provided by the state-owned company Aer Lingus.
International airports can be found at Dublin, Cork, Knock
and Shannon; the latter two are also used on transatlantic
flights. Ferry connections with the UK are of great
importance, while the commercial use of the country's
channels has ceased. The main port cities are Dublin, Cork,
Dún Laoghaire, Waterford, Rosslare, Limerick and Galway.