At a glance
Ireland joined the euro area on 1 January 1999. Euro banknotes and coins were introduced on 1 January 2002. Until that date the euro was the official currency but only existed as 'book money'. The euro replaced the Irish pound (IEP) at the conversion rate of EUR 1 = IEP 0.787564.
Ireland is represented by Enda Kenny, The Taoiseach, at Euro Summit meetings and by its Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, at Eurogroup meetings.
- Adoption of the euro: 01/01/1999
- Former currency: Irish pound (EUR 1 = IEP 0.787564 )
- GDP per capita (current prices): €34 900 (2011 - Eurostat)
- Number of votes at the Council of the EU: 7
- Member of the Schengen area: No
- Official languages: Irish (Gaelic) (ga), English (en)
Ireland has a bicameral parliamentary system. The Parliament (Oireachtas) is composed of the Chamber of Deputies (Dáil Éireann) and the Senate (Seanad Éireann).
The Chamber of Deputies has 166 members elected for five years.
The Senate has 60 senators:
- 43 are elected by five panels representing vocational interests (Culture and Education, Agriculture, Labour, Industry and Commerce and Public Administration),
- 6 are elected by the graduates of two universities (three each by the National University of Ireland and the University of Dublin (Trinity College)
- 11 are nominated by the Taoiseach (the Prime Minister).
The President of the Republic is the head of state, and is elected for seven years by direct universal suffrage. The term is renewable once. The President has no specific executive powers which rest with the Prime Minister (Taoiseach).
- Political system: republic
- Voting age: 18, voting not compulsory
- National Day: 17 March (St Patrick's Day)
Permanent Representation to the EU
Rue Froissart/Froissartstraat 50
Tel. +32 22308580
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