Ireland's economy in facts and figures
(DUBLIN) - Herewith a few facts and figures on Ireland, which was the second eurozone to seek a bailout, agreeing an 85-billion-euro ($111-billion) European Union-International Monetary Fund rescue package in November last year.
DATE OF ENTRY INTO THE EUROZONE: Ireland was a member of the Economic and Monetary Union when it launched on January 1, 1999, ahead of the introduction of euro notes and coins into circulation in 2002.
PUBLIC DEBT: 144 billion euros in 2010, or 92.5 percent of GDP (Source: Eurostat). Forecast to grow to 108.1 percent of GDP in 2011, 117.5 percent in 2012 (European Commission)
PUBLIC DEFICIT: 31.3 percent of GDP in 2010 (Eurostat)
Forecast to drop to 10.3 percent of GDP in 2011, 8.6 percent in 2012, 7.8 percent in 2013 (European Commission)
GDP: 157 billion euros in 2011 (Eurostat forecast)
Forecast to grow 1.1 percent in 2012, 2.3 percent in 2013 (European Commission)
GDP per capita was 24,500 euros in 2010 (Eurostat).
ECONOMY: Once dubbed the "Celtic Tiger" for its strong economic growth, a banking crisis eventually forced the government to seek an 85-billion-euro EU-IMF bailout in November 2010. Other than tourism, Ireland's economy is heavily focused on exports. A low corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent has attracted numerous multinational set up shop in Ireland, particularly hi-tech companies.
INFLATION: 1.1 percent in 2011, 0.7 percent in 2012 (European Commission forecasts)
UNEMPLOYMENT: 14.4 percent in 2011, 14.3 percent in 2012 (European Commission forecasts)
CREDIT RATINGS: The major ratings agencies downgraded Ireland's ratings several times in the run up to and following its international bailout in November 2010. Standard and Poor's held Ireland's rating at BBB+ on January 13 when it lowered the ratings of nine of the 17 eurozone nations. Fitch put its BBB+ rating for Ireland on watch for possible downgrade on December 16. Moody's which stripped Ireland of an investment grade rating in July, giving it a Ba1, has said it plans to review all its EU ratings.
POPULATION: 4.58 million on January 2011 (Central Statistics Office estimate)
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Gaelic and English
Edna Kenny became prime minister of a coalition government in March 2011 after his Fine Gael topped early elections called over the country's crisis the previous month.
Michael Higgins was elected to the largely ceremonious presidency in October 2011 for a seven-year term.
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