Country Profile: Ireland
Prepared by: The Idaho Falls High School Delegation for Idaho Model U.N.
- Population: 5,059,489 (2022)
- Official Name: Republic of Ireland, Ireland, Éire, Airlann
- Un-official name: N/A
- Demonyms: Irish
- Government Type: Parliamentary Democratic Republic
- GDP: 418.6 billion USD
Ireland is governed by three main branches of government, similar to the US: two executives who head the state and manage the legislature (with both a Prime Minister – “Taoiseach” and President- “Uachtarán”). The executives work with the legislative body (the general election elects the president, and the Dáil nominates the prime minister), which is a dualistic parliament split into the Seanad Éireann (upper house or senate) and the Dáil (lower house). Ireland has four powerful political factions that hold most of the power in the Oireachtas: Sinn Féin (center/center-right), Fianna Fáil (center-left/left-wing), Fine Gael (center-right), and Green (left-wing). This has resulted in a need for political coalitions to achieve policy goals, as no one party of the top three holds significant enough power over another in the Oireachtas. Ireland remains one of the only nations in the world that still has primarily centrist politics, although in the last 20 years it has veered to be more liberal. A significant coalition recently formed between the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party, creating a strong coalition with the vast majority of power in the Irish government.
The court system in Ireland is very similar to that of the United States in that it has lower courts, a court of appeals, a higher court, and the Irish Supreme Court which has the power of judicial review. The government can challenge laws in federal courts such as the Supreme Court of Ireland through the referral of the president and Council of State (president’s cabinet of 15 ministers).
Major Players In current Irish Politics are:
- Micheál Martin- prime minister, leader of Fianna Fáil Party, responsible for the current 3 party coalition
- 13 ministers of Irish cabinet: Prime; Trade and Employment; Finance; Public Expenditure and Reform; Environment; Tourism; Housing/Local Government; Foreign Affairs and Defense; Education; Social Protection and Community Development;Children, Disability, Inequality, and Youth; Higher Education and Innovation; Justice; Health; and Agriculture
- Seán Ó Fearghaíl: leader in Irish parliament
- GDP: 498.56 billion USD (2021)
- GDP per capita: 99,152.1 USD (2021)
- National Debt: $286,132,313,331 (USD)
- GDP to National Debt Ratio: 82.06%
- Trade Deficit: 4,022,700,000
- Jobs: 74% Employment rate.
- Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
- Main Exports: Vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins and cultures (16.8%), Packaged Medicaments (16.5%), Nitrogen Heterocyclic Compounds (13.4%), Integrated Circuits (5.69%) and Scented Mixtures (4.4%).
- Main Imports: Planes, Helicopters, and/or Spacecraft (6.27%), Packaged Medicaments (4.74%), Vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins and cultures (4.65%), Computers (4.23%), and Nitrogen Heterocyclic Compounds (3.07%).
Ireland’s GDP is inflated by the profit of hundreds of multinational companies. Ireland’s GNP — which takes out the multinationals value produced — growth is 2.1% compared to the GDP growth of 4.8%. The people of Ireland are not experiencing as much of an increase in wealth, but are actually being dragged down by inflation. Ireland is slightly doing better than the rest of the EU in regards of these numbers. The residents of Ireland are facing more expensive electricity bills and higher rental prices.
National Security, along with its implications on Youth Issues
Since its independence movement and political turmoil from as early as the Irish Potato Famine, Irish Nationalism is a prominent, defining characteristic of the Irish boasting nearly homogenous support for continued independence and sovereignty from historic UK rule. Given its proximity to its historic “rival,” Ireland maintains a strong interest (in the words of Michael Higgins) in maintaining national security. Ireland generally implements national security through three primary fields: cybersecurity, military/border defense, and educational awareness in youth.
Cybersecurity takes many forms. Following the Higgins Reform Period in the past decade, defense budgets for cybersecurity increased from $99 million to $300 million. Simultaneously, the national university in Ireland, University College Dublin (UCD) became a member of Propel International, a rigorous, new computer science curriculum for prospective students, with a special emphasis on cybersecurity.
Military/border defense ranks second on Ireland’s list of National Security priorities. While it does not have a fully independent, nationally-contracted defense design industry, it has historically maintained diplomatic relations with nations from whom it buys its main weapon arsenal. For instance, from the United States of America, Ireland has a contract of $143 million for General Dynamics F-16s, along with a further $350 million for its missile defense budget. Further sources extend to companies such as Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Boeing, and recently, Comac. Ireland has also implemented plans for the future. President Higgins has recently stressed the importance of maintaining the latest generation weaponry, which currently includes lasers and satellite technology. Furthermore, in order to train the weapons specialists of the future, Ireland has promoted new programs across its military. The Air Corps College of the Irish Air Corps (IAC), for example, recently implemented a new program named Advanced Weaponry Cadetship (AWC), targeted at training prospective students in the field of ever advancing military technology.
Regarding the relation of National security concerns to youth, Irish literature is frequently taught in Irish classrooms as a way to enliven nationalism and engender patriotism in Ireland. The curriculum stresses pro-Irish independence writing such as the ballads of Thomas Moore, and by the plays and novels of W.B. Yeats and James Augustus Aloysius Joyce. These works are intended to instill nationalist sentiment and patriotic fervor in the hearts and minds of young Irish people. Additional recruitment efforts from Propel International, Dublin, and military programs like AWC in secondary education environments further help Ireland maintain its military relevance on the global scale.
Role in the United Nations
Ireland has been a prominent member of the United Nations since 1955, when it joined as its 63rd member. It was elected to the Security Council as a non-permanent member for the years 2021 and 2022 and pays 0.418% (about 13 million) of the yearly UN budget. The permanent representative of Ireland to the UN is Fergul Mythen. He was appointed in August of 2022 after holding various posts within the EU and several countries’ DFA.
Due to its conflict-ridden history, Ireland is dedicated to emphasizing peace and stability in all of its international affairs. Irish peacekeepers have served all over the world since 1958. The country is actively involved in the Third Committee of the General Assembly, where they focus on issues pertaining to gender equality and human rights. In addition, they were the first country to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which promotes the disarmament of nuclear weapons.
Ireland is closely involved in improving the effectiveness of the UN. They are in favor of reforming the Security Council to be more representative and inclusive. This includes being engaged in the ACT (accountability, coherence, and transparency) group that promotes a better Security Council and supporting the abolition of veto rights maintained by the 5 permanent members.
Current Role in Youth Issues
Ireland has a permanent mission to the United Nations to represent the young people in Ireland in the UN. Ireland chose to make this a mission because they want youth voices to be amplified especially when it comes to making decisions that will affect the future generations. Ireland understands that young people will be leading figures for Ireland in as little as 10 years. Because of this, each year, Ireland chooses two youth UN delegates to form part of Ireland’s official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. This program not only helps get youth voices heard but it also helps make youth members determined to change things and helps them get involved in politics. This even tears down many barriers that prevent youth from getting involved in political affairs.
Specific Concerns, Approaches, and Policies
- Mental Health (urban deprived areas)
- Financial difficulties during Covid-19
- Tackle isolation and exclusion of youth minorities
- Equal access to level 3 education – for non-EEA immigrants
- Address religious discrimination, especially in regards to Islamophobia.
Great citation (https://www.youth.ie/articles/were-here-hear-us-now-issues-and-recommendations/)
https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/08f24-minister-coveney-announces-united-nations-youth-delegates/#:~:text=Ireland%20is%20committed%20to%20amplifying,through%20engagement%20with%20the%20UN. Current role in youth issues
https://www.britannica.com/place/Ireland/Government-and-society political systems
https://www.youth.ie/articles/were-here-hear-us-now-issues-and-recommendations/ Ireland cares about youth
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD?end=2021&most_recent_value_desc=true&start=1986 GDP per capita
https://commodity.com/data/ireland/debt-clock/ National Debt
https://tradingeconomics.com/ireland/unemployment-rate#:~:text=In%20Ireland%2C%20the%20unemployment%20rate,percentage%20of%20the%20labour%20force.&text=Higher%20in%20August-,Ireland’s%20seasonally%20adjusted%20unemployment%20rate%20rose%20to%204.3%20percent%20in,rate%20in%20the%20previous%20month. Unemployment rate
https://data.oecd.org/emp/employment-rate.htm Employment rate.
www.dfa.ie/pmun/newyork/ireland-at-the-un/ Ireland UN – blocked on school computers
https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/government_in_ireland/houses_of_the_oireachtas/ Political Profile
Role in UN:
https://www.irishnewsarchive.com/wp/ireland-join-the-united-nations/ when joined
https://oec.world/en/profile/country/irl?subnationalFlowSelector=flow1&yearlyTradeFlowSelector=flow1 Main exports and Imports
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/08/irish-gdp-is-growing-steadily-but-a-cost-of-living-crisis-still-looms.html Ireland’s GDP vs. GNP and the situation for Irish residents