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Turinys:

1. Names of the Irish state
2. History of the Republic of Ireland
4. Politics
5, Culture of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland (Irish: Poblacht na hÉireann) is the official description[1] of the sovereign state which covers approximately five-sixths of the island of Ireland, off the coast of north-west Europe. The state’s official name is Ireland (Irish: Éire),[2] and this is how international organisations and citizens of Ireland usually refer to the country. It is a member of the European Union, has a developed economy and a population off slightly more than 4.2 million. The remaining sixth of the island of Ireland is known as Northern Ireland and is part of the United Kingdom. Ireland is the fastest growing country in Europe, with a population increase of 8.1% between 2002 and 2006, or 1.97% annually.

Name
Main article: Names of the Irish state

The constitution provides that the name of the state is “Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland.” However, the state is sometimes referred to as the “Republic of Ireland”, in order to distinguish itt from the island of Ireland. The name Republic of Ireland came into use after the Republic of Ireland Act defined it as the official description of the state in 1949 (the purpose of the act being to declare that the st

tate was a republic rather than a form of constitutional monarchy). It is also the accepted legal name of the state in the United Kingdom as per the Ireland Act 1949. Today, while Republic of Ireland is a valid term for the state, Ireland is used for official purposes such as treaties, government and legal documents, and membership of international organisations. However with Irish being named the European Union’s 21st official language in 2007; the nation will be referred to using both Irish and English languages, similarly to other countries such as Finland and Belgium using more than one language at EU level. This means the label ‘Éire Ireland’ will be used on various signage and nameplates referring to the state.[3]

The state iss also known by many other names in English, such as Éire, The Free State and the Twenty-six Counties. The use of Éire when speaking English in Ireland has become increasingly rare, not least due to historical condescending connotations. Often in the United Kingdom the state is referred to as Southern Ireland, though this term is used informally and was only used officially for a brief period in the state’s history.

The state has had more than one official title. The re

evolutionary state established by nationalists in 1919 was known as the “Irish Republic”; when the state achieved de jure independence in 1922, it became known as the “Irish Free State” (in the Irish language Saorstát Éireann), a name that was retained until 1937.

History
Main article: History of the Republic of Ireland

The state known today as the Republic of Ireland came into being when 26 of the counties of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (UK) in 1922. The remaining six counties remained within the UK as Northern Ireland. This action, known as the Partition of Ireland, came about because of complex constitutional developments in the early twentieth century.

From 1 January 1801 until 6 December 1922, Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. During the Great Famine from 1845 to 1849 the island’s population of over 8 million fell by 30 percent. One million Irish died of starvation and another 1.5 million were forced to emigrate,[citation needed] which set the pattern of emigration for the century to come and would result in a constant decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, but particularly from 1880 under Charles Stewart Parnell, the Irish Parliamentary Party moved to prominence with its attempts to achieve Home Rule, which would have given Ireland some autonomy without requiring it

t to leave the United Kingdom. It seemed possible in 1911 when the House of Lords lost their veto, and John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act 1914. The unionist movement, however, had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants, fearing that they would face discrimination and lose economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics were to achieve real political power. Though Irish unionism existed throughout the whole of Ireland, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century unionism was particularly strong in parts of Ulster, where industrialisation was more common in contrast to the more agrarian rest of the island. (Any tariff barriers would, it was feared, most heavily hit that region.) In addition, the Protestant population was more strongly located in Ulster, with unionist majorities existing in about four counties. Under the leadership of the Dublin-born Sir Edward Carson and the northerner Sir James Craig they became more militant. In 1914, to avoid rebellion in Ulster, the British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, with agreement of the leadership of the Irish Parliamentary Party leadership, inserted a clause into the bill providing for home rule for 26 of the 32 counties, with an as of yet undecided new set of measures to be introduced fo
or the area temporarily excluded. Though it received the Royal Assent, the Third Home Rule Act 1914’s implementation was suspended until after the Great War. (The war at that stage was expected to be ended by 1915, not the four years it did ultimately last.) For the prior reasons Redmond and his Irish National Volunteers supported the Allied cause, and tens of thousands joined the British Army.

In January 1919, after the December 1918 general elections, 73 of Ireland’s 106 MPs elected were Sinn Féin members who refused to take their seats in the British House of Commons. Instead, they set up an extra-legal Irish parliament called Dáil Éireann. This Dáil in January 1919 issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence and proclaimed an Irish Republic. The Declaration was mainly a restatement of the 1916 Proclamation with the additional provision that Ireland was no longer a part of the United Kingdom. Despite this, the new Irish Republic remained unrecognised internationally except by Lenin’s Russian Republic. Nevertheless the Republic’s Aireacht (ministry) sent a delegation under Ceann Comhairle Sean T. O’Kelly to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919, but it was not admitted. After the bitterly fought War of Independence, representatives of the British government and the Irish rebels negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 under which the British agreed to the establishment of an independent Irish State whereby the Irish Free State (in the Irish language Saorstát Éireann) with dominion status was created. The Dáil narrowly ratified the treaty.

The Treaty was not entirely satisfactory to either side. It gave more concessions to the Irish than the British had intended to give but did not go far enough to satisfy republican aspirations. The new Irish Free State was in theory to cover the entire island, subject to the proviso that six counties in the north-east, termed “Northern Ireland” (which had been created as a separate entity under the Government of Ireland Act 1920) could opt out and choose to remain part of the United Kingdom, which they duly did. The remaining twenty-six counties became the Irish Free State, a constitutional monarchy over which the British monarch reigned (from 1927 with the title King of Ireland). It had a Governor-General, a bicameral parliament, a cabinet called the “Executive Council” and a prime minister called the President of the Executive Council.

The Irish Civil War was the direct consequence of the creation of the Irish Free State. Anti-Treaty forces, led by Eamon de Valera, objected to the fact that acceptance of the Treaty abolished the Irish Republic of 1919 to which they had sworn loyalty, arguing in the face of public support for the settlement that the “people have no right to do wrong”. They objected most to the fact that the state would remain part of the British Commonwealth and that Teachtaí Dála would have to swear an oath of fidelity to King George V and his successors. Pro-Treaty forces, led by Michael Collins, argued that the Treaty gave “not the ultimate freedom that all nations aspire to and develop, but the freedom to achieve it”.

At the start of the war, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) split into two opposing camps: a pro-treaty IRA and an anti-treaty IRA. The pro-Treaty IRA became part of the new National Army. However, through the lack of an effective command structure in the anti-Treaty IRA, and their defensive tactics throughout the war, Collins and his pro-treaty forces were able to build up an army capable of overwhelming the anti-Treatyites. British supplies of artillery, aircraft, machine-guns and ammunition boosted pro-treaty forces, and the threat of a return of Crown forces to the Free State removed any doubts about the necessity of enforcing the treaty. The lack of public support for the anti-treaty Irregulars, and the determination of the government to overcome them, contributed significantly to their defeat.

The National Army suffered 800 fatalities and perhaps as many as 4,000 people were killed altogether. As their forces retreated, the Irregulars showed a major talent for destruction and the economy of the Free State suffered a hard blow in the earliest days of its existence.

On 29 December 1937 a new constitution, the Constitution of Ireland, came into force. It replaced the Irish Free State by a new state called simply “Ireland”. Though this state’s constitutional structures provided for a President of Ireland instead of a king, it was not technically a republic; the principal key role possessed by a head of state, that of symbolically representing the state internationally remained vested, in statute law, in the King as an organ. On 21 December 1948 the Republic of Ireland Act declared a republic, with the functions previously given to the King given instead to the President of Ireland.

The Irish state had remained a member of the then-British Commonwealth after independence until the declaration of a republic on 18th April 1949. Under Commonwealth rules declaration of a republic automatically terminated membership of the association; since a reapplication for membership was not made, Ireland consequently ceased to be a member.

The Republic of Ireland joined the United Nations in 1955 and the European Community (now the European Union) in 1973. Irish governments have sought the peaceful reunification of Ireland and have usually cooperated with the British government in the violent conflict with the Provisional IRA and UVF in Northern Ireland known as the “Troubles”. A peace settlement for Northern Ireland, the Belfast Agreement, was approved in 1998 in referenda north and south of the border, and is currently being implemented, albeit more slowly than many would like.

Politics

President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.
Main articles on politics and government of the Republic of Ireland can be found at the Politics and government of the Republic of Ireland series.

The state is a republic, with a parliamentary system of government. The President of Ireland, who serves as head of state, is elected for a seven-year term and can be re-elected only once. The president is largely a figurehead but can still carry out certain constitutional powers and functions, aided by the Council of State, an advisory body. The Taoiseach (prime minister), is appointed by the president on the nomination of parliament. The Taoiseach is normally the leader of the political party which wins the most seats in the national elections. It has become normal in the Republic for coalitions to form a government, and there has not been a single-party government since the period of 1987–1989.

The bicameral parliament, the Oireachtas, consists of a Senate, Seanad Éireann, and a lower house, Dáil Éireann. The Seanad is composed of sixty members; eleven nominated by the Taoiseach, six elected by two universities, and 43 elected by public representatives from panels of candidates established on a vocational basis. The Dáil has 166 members, Teachtaí Dála, elected to represent multi-seat constituencies under the system of proportional representation by means of the Single Transferable Vote. Under the constitution, parliamentary elections must be held at least every seven years, though a lower limit may be set by statute law. The current statutory maximum term is every five years.

Leinster House, the seat of Oireachtas Éireann (the Irish parliament)

The Government is constitutionally limited to fifteen members. No more than two members of the Government can be selected from the Senate, and the Taoiseach, Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) and Minister for Finance must be members of the Dáil. The current government consists of a coalition of two parties; Fianna Fáil under Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the Progressive Democrats under Tánaiste Michael McDowell

The main opposition in the current Dáil consists of Fine Gael and Labour. Smaller parties such as the Green Party, Sinn Féin and the Socialist Party also have representation in the Dáil.

Ireland joined the European Union in 1973. Since then it has received 16% of all “first warnings” issued on environmental issues, despite being under 1% of the EU’s population.

In 2004 Ireland held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union .

Culture
Main article: Culture of Ireland

The island of Ireland has produced the Book of Kells, Irish traditional music, and writers such as George Berkeley, Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, Samuel Beckett, John Millington Synge, Seán O’Casey, Séamus Heaney, Bram Stoker and others. Shaw, Yeats, Beckett and Heaney are Nobel Literature laureates. Other prominent writers include Roddy Doyle, Séamus Ó Grianna, Dermot Bolger, Maeve Binchy, Frank McCourt, Edna O’Brien, Joseph O’Connor, John McGahern and Colm Tóibín. In Hollywood acting with Colin Farrell and Samantha Mumba.

Ernest Walton of Trinity College Dublin shared the 1951 Nobel Prize in Physics for “splitting the atom”. William Rowan Hamilton was a significant mathematician.

County Donegal blues musician Rory Gallagher.

Figures influential in music included Blues guitarist Rory Gallagher, folk singer Christy Moore, the Wolfe Tones, Shane MacGowan with his band The Pogues and singer Sinéad O’Connor. Successful entertainment exports in the late twentieth century include acts such as Horslips, U2, Thin Lizzy, Boomtown Rats, The Corrs, Boyzone, Ronan Keating, The Cranberries and Enya, and the internationally acclaimed dance shows Riverdance and Lord of the Dance. In classical music, the Island of Ireland was also the birthplace of the notable composers Turlough O’Carolan, John Field (inventor of the Nocturne), Michael William Balfe, Sir Charles Villiers Stanford and Charles Wood.

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