European Union

Ireland

Overview

Flag of Ireland

Political system

Ireland is a parliamentary republic consisting of 26 counties. The head of government - the prime minister - is appointed by the president after nomination by the Lower House (Dail) and exercises executive power. The head of state - the president - mostly has ceremonial powers. The Parliament has 2 chambers (an Upper and Lower House). Location on the EU map

Trade and economy

The most important sectors of Ireland’s economy in 2016 were industry (38.9 %), wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities (12.9 %) and public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (12.3%).

Intra-EU trade accounts for 51% of Ireland’s exports (United Kingdom 13%, Belgium 13% and Germany 7%), while 26% go to the United States and 5% to Switzerland.

In terms of imports, 68% come from EU Member States (United Kingdom 29%, France 13% and Germany 10%), while outside the EU 15% go to the United States and 4% to China.

Brexit and Ireland - Legal, political and economic considerations - (Study)

 

Ireland in the EU

European Parliament

There are 11 members of the European Parliament from Ireland. Find out who these MEPs are.

European Parliament office in Ireland

Council of the EU

In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Irish government, depending on the policy area being addressed.

Presidency of the Council of the EU

The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.

During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.

Dates of Irish presidencies:

Jan-Jun 1975 | Jul-Dec 1979 | Jul-Dec 1984 | Jan-Jun 1990 | Jul-Dec 1996 | Jan-Jun 2004 | Jan-Jun 2013

Presidency of the Council of the EU

The following link is a redirection to an external websiteCurrent presidency of the Council of the EU

European Commission

The Commissioner nominated by Ireland to the European Commission is Phil Hogan, who is responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".

Commission representation in Ireland 

European Economic & Social Committee

Ireland has 9 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.

European Committee of the Regions

Ireland has 9 representatives on the European Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.

Permanent representation to the EU

Ireland also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Ireland's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.

Budgets and Funding

How much does Ireland contribute and receive?

Member countries' financial contributions to the EU budget are shared fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa. The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather to focus on the needs of all Europeans as a whole. 

Breakdown of Ireland's finances with the EU in 2016: 

  • Total EU spending in Ireland: € 2.038 billion
  • Total EU spending as % of Irish gross national income (GNI): 0.93 %
  • Total Irish contribution to the EU budget: € 1.675 billion
  • Irish contribution to the EU budget as % of its GNI: 0.76 % 

More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:

EU-funded projects in Ireland

The money paid into the EU budget by Ireland helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.

Find out more about how Ireland benefits from EU funding.

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