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Territory in the island of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean, ruled since 1937 by the Poblacht na hÉireann
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  • FreedomPedia
  • Ireland (Irish: Éire), also described as the Republic of Ireland (Poblacht na hÉireann), is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, which is located on the eastern part of the island, and whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's 4.8 million inhabitants. The state shares its only land border with Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom. It is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, Saint George's Channel to the south-east and the Irish Sea to the east. It is a unitary, parliamentary republic. The legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, and an elected President (Uachtarán) who serves as the largely ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach (Prime Minister, literally 'Chief', a title not used in English), who is elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the Taoiseach in turn appoints other government ministers.

    Geographical type: Island Territory

    Latitude: 53° N — Longitude: 8° W

    Area: 70,273 km²

    ISO 3166-2 code: IE

    Birthplace of

    Richard Cantillon, on 1680

    Deathplace of

    James P. Hogan, in Dromahaire, on 12 Jul 2010
    Francis Hutcheson, in Dublin, on 1746

    Measures of Freedom

    Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2021
    2019: 8.9, Rank: 5, Personal Freedom: 9.4, Economic Freedom: 8.21
    Ireland | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2022
    2016: Status: Free, Aggregate Score: 96, Political Rights: 1, Civil Liberties: 1
    The government agreed in 2015 to only 4 of the 38 recommendations made the previous year by Ireland's first Constitutional Convention, a body of citizens and political representatives tasked with debating and proposing changes to the country's constitution. A referendum on two of the recommendations took place in May: marriage equality for same-sex couples, which was endorsed, and lowering the minimum age for presidential candidates from 35 to 21 years, which was rejected.
    Level of Economic Freedom, Economic Freedom of the World
    2014: 7.98, Rank: 5


    Agenda for Liberty: A Biography of John Lilburne, by Jim Powell, The Triumph of Liberty, 4 Jul 2000
    Lengthy biographical essay
    Cromwell moved to suppress the Irish who had been revolting against English rule since 1641. In Drogheda and Wexford, on Ireland's east coast, Cromwell ordered a massacre which Irish rebels would never forget. He transferred title for vast Irish lands to English owners. Historian George Macaulay Trevelyan observed: 'In Ireland as Oliver left it and as it long remained, the persecuted priests were the only leaders of the people because the English had destroyed the class of native gentry. The Cromwellian settlement rendered the Irish for centuries the most priest-led population in Europe.'
    Big-Spending Republicans Can Learn from Ireland's Reforms, by Benjamin Powell, 17 Sep 2003
    Contrasts U.S. government spending in the 1990's (under Bill Clinton) and early 2000's (under George W. Bush) with the approach taken in Ireland from the late 1980's
    Ireland’s recent growth has shown just how successful this approach can be. After years of high spending, taxing, inflating, and deficits, the Irish government was confronted with a fiscal crisis in 1986. To solve their budget problems they made dramatic cuts in government spending ... In 1986, Ireland slashed spending in areas such as health expenditures (6 percent), education (7 percent), agricultural spending (18 percent), roads and housing (11 percent), and the military (7 percent), and completely abolished other agencies ... In 1987 Ireland followed those moves up with the largest budget cuts in 30 years.
    Collected Works of Nassau William Senior, by Donald Rutherford (editor), 1998
    "Introduction" of subject book, includes biographical and bibliographical information
    In 1831 [Senior] published his advice to the government in A Letter to Lord Howick on a Legal Provision for the Irish Poor based on evidence to the Committee on the State of the Poor in Ireland and a pamphlet of Dr Doyle. Senior noted that most of the Irish population had avoided extreme poverty as the subsistence of the population had not declined during a period of population growth ... He admitted that Irish wages were less than forty per cent of the English level but to equalize them would only encourage population growth and diminish the wages fund.
    The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, May 2004
    Historical account of Ireland from its earliest inhabitants, through various invaders, conflicts with the English and between Catholics and Protestants, to the mid-nineteenth century
    The island of Ireland lies at the extreme western edge of Europe, separated from England by the narrow Irish Sea. Today, it is divided into two parts: 6 northern counties called Northern Ireland are a part of the United Kingdom; 26 other counties form a self-governing republic that has been known by different names but is commonly referred to as Ireland. ... On January 1, 1801, an Act of Union joined Ireland and England under a single Parliament in London. The Union would last 120 years. The Act affected Ireland in several ways. Some Irish became committed to repealing the Act ... others became committed to violence.
    The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Jun 2004
    Historical account of Ireland from 1840 to the first decade of the twentieth century, including the Young Irelanders, the famines, the Irish in North America, Captain Boycott, the demand for home rule, the Gaelic League and the emergence of Sinn Fein
    By 1841, Ireland had a population of more than eight million. The potato had become the basis of the Irish diet because it was cheap, easy to cultivate, and nutritious. In 1845, "The Great Hunger" came when a potato blight severely damaged that crop. ... The famine hardened Irish hatred for Britain whose mercantilist policies they blamed for starvation. ... By 1879, the land issue again galvanized Ireland. After the Great Hunger, rents had increased by as much as 30 percent. ... A less violent group also emerged under the guidance of Arthur Griffith: Sinn Fein, or "Ourselves Alone," emphasized self-reliance.
    The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 3, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Jul 2004
    Historical account of Ireland from 1912 to 1921, including the formation of the Irish Assembly, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty that concluded the Irish War of Independence
    The newly elected Sinn Féiners formed the Dáil Éireann — the Irish Assembly — and held their first parliament on January 21, 1919 in Dublin. The Dáil, with its own courts and using its own funds, was declared to be Ireland's rightful government ... The British raided the Dáil and arrested its democratically elected leadership. One leader, Éamon de Valera, was deported to England and prison but he returned to Ireland. In the following election, de Valera was declared president. The Irish election of 1920 was a public vote of confidence for the suppressed Irish government ...
    The Colonial Venture of Ireland, Part 4, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, Aug 2004
    Historical account of the partitioned Ireland from 1922 to the 1970's, including Éamon de Valera, the creation of the Republic of Ireland, the conflicts with and eventual split up of the IRA, and civil rights marches and riots in the North
    In April 1922, the IRA seized the "Four Courts" in Dublin — the center of the Irish judicial system — and held them for three months, even against shelling. ... The 1932 election brought de Valera back to power as president. He repealed the Public Safety Act, abolished the "Oath," and released his old comrades from prison. ... Neutrality by the South had been a statement of sovereignty, which was cemented on April 1, 1949, when the Republic of Ireland Act declared Éire to be a republic. In 1955, the Republic of Ireland joined the United Nations and its diplomats began to speak out as Third World victims of colonialism.
    Related Topics: Great Britain, World War II
    Gertrude B. Kelly: A Forgotten Feminist, by Wendy McElroy, The Freeman, Oct 1998
    Biographical essay on Dr. Gertrude B. Kelly (1862–1934), Irish immigrant, individualist feminist and contributor to the Liberty periodical (1881-1908)
    As an immigrant from Ireland in 1873, Gertrude Kelly's introduction to individualistic philosophy was probably through the columns of "Honorius" in Irish World—an organ of the Irish No Rent movement ... Kelly could not have been indifferent to the absentee British landlords whose claims to most of Ireland's fertile soil came from conquest and legal privilege. The exorbitant rent and interest they charged the Irish for use of land and money were a major cause of that country's poverty ... [S]he turned to the cause ... of Irish independence, becoming a prominent member of the Irish Women's Council.
    Government Interventionism in Ireland, Part 1, by Scott McPherson, Freedom Daily, May 2004
    Account of Irish history in the early 20th century, contrasting the views of unionists in Ulster with those of nationalists desiring home rule or outright separation from Britain
    In 1914, Britain, like the United States and other industrialized countries, was experiencing the tremendous material benefits of a century of laissez-faire economic policies. In Ireland, the most visible advantages of 19th-century capitalism could be seen in Ulster, where industries thrived and living standards soared, relative to the rest of the country.
    Related Topic: Great Britain
    Government Interventionism in Ireland, Part 2, by Scott McPherson, Freedom Daily, Jun 2004
    Continued examination of the differences between Irish Protestants and Catholics in the early 20th century, suggesting the principles advocated by Mises could have resulted in better outcomes
    Had Irish nationalists espoused a philosophy of true political freedom — free markets, individual rights and private property, and limited government — rather than one of government interventionism, statism, and political control, there is every reason to believe that the majority of unionists would at least have been less suspicious of their Catholic neighbors and more prepared to see the Home Rule Act as no threat to their British values.
    Related Topic: Ludwig von Mises
    Jane Cobden: Carrying on Her Father's Work, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 25 Jul 2014
    Biographical essay on Jane Cobden, daughter of Richard Cobden, who continued her father's advocacy of free trade and other ideals
    Wikipedia quotes Richard Cobden from 1848:
    Almost every crime and outrage in Ireland is connected with the occupation or ownership of land ... If I had the power, I would always make the proprietors of the soil resident, by breaking up the large properties. In other words, I would give Ireland to the Irish.
    He also wrote:
    ... I never spoke to a French or Italian economist who did not at once put his finger on the fact that great masses of landed property were held by the descendants of a conquering race, who were living abroad, ... while the natives were at the same time precluded from possessing themselves of landed property ...
    John Bright: Voice of Victorian Liberalism, by Nicholas Elliott, The Freeman, Aug 1988
    Biographical essay, discussing in detail many of Bright's activities, in and out of Parliament, such as the repeal of the Corn Laws, opposition to the Crimean War, his view on colonial India and the United States, Parliamentary reform and Ireland
    Bright had been a personal friend of Irish reformer Daniel O'Connell, who had supported the Anti-Corn Law League. Bright took up the grievances of the Irish and, after O'Connell’s death in 1847, was often their most persistent representative in Parliament. He rejected all attempts to impose the Church of England upon the native Catholics; instead he called for the withdrawal of this 'symbol of conquest.' The other issue was land policy: Irish agriculture had always been weak because large-scale English owners maintained idle lands, and because tenants scratched a precarious existence with no legal right of tenancy.
    Richard Cobden's Triumphant Crusade for Free Trade and Peace, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jun 1995
    Extensive biographical essay, including Cobden's relationship with John Bright as they campaigned for repeal of the Corn Laws, and his later peace activism
    Informed people worried about what might be going on in miserable Ireland where nearly everyone depended on potatoes to survive. Except for northeastern Ulster, Ireland had never gone through an industrial revolution, and Irish peasants were believed to be the poorest in Europe—even worse off than American black slaves. Millions of Irish peasants lived in mud huts without a scrap of furniture. Well, the potato crop rotted everywhere. Peasants began dying from famine and related epidemics of typhus, cholera, and other diseases. Eventually, over a million Irish perished, and hundreds of thousands more emigrated.
    To Defeat the Assault on Liberty, Our Appeals Must Be Moral, by Jim Powell, 13 May 2013
    Argues, by providing several historical examples, that "compelling moral appeals for liberty" are needed to confront various current problems such as government spending and debt, higher taxes and disregard of constitutional limits on executive power
    During the third decade of the 19th century, Daniel O'Connell led the nonviolent movement to abolish British-enforced civil disabilities on Irish Catholics — among other things, they hadn't been permitted to own land, inherit property or vote in Parliamentary elections. O'Connell declared, "We will plant in our Native Land the Constitutional Tree of Liberty. That noble tree will flourish. Beneath its sacred shade, the People of Ireland — Catholics, Protestants and Dissenters of every Class — will sit in peace. They will see Old Ireland what she ought to be — Great, Glorious and FREE, First Flower of the Earth, first gem of the Sea."

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Republic of Ireland" as of 25 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.