The Irish Economy

The Irish economy is a small, trade-dependent economy which saw tremendous economic growth between 1993 and 2007 the period of the Celtic Tiger. However in 2008 when the global recession hit, saw a massive economic downturn that put extraordinary pressure on the Irish economy. The Irish property market dropped and domestic banking systems collapsed which called for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union which may take years to recover from. The government has also implemented a four year austerity plan to cut €15 billion from the national budget and its effects are widespread.

The major economic sectors:

2% of GDP is produced from agricultural products such as beef, dairy products, barley, potatoes, wheat and mushrooms. Out of the 7 million hectares of land in Ireland, 5 million are dedicated to agricultural purposes.


Over-fishing depleted Irish fish stocks and in 1995 a fishing ban was introduced to the Irish Sea so stocks had time to recover and replenish. Recently Ireland has been given approval by to reopen prawn fishing by the European Union and some other fish quotas in Irish waters again in the hope of regenerating the fishing industry. The industry provides employment for over 11,000 people.


Six million tourists visit Ireland each year creating 180,000 jobs and generating €3.9 billion for the economy. The tourism industry is built around the Irish people, Irish culture and the physical beauty of the country.


In 2009 trade in Ireland was worth €270 billion, mostly generated by merchandise trade and service trade. The main trading partners are the USA, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands. The main merchandise goods include organic chemicals, medical and pharmaceutical products and computers.


The main service industries are pharmaceuticals, chemicals, computer hardware and software, food products, beverages and brewing and medical devices computers and contribute to 29% of GDP.