Ireland is a democratic constitutional state with a republican form of government (parliamentary republic). The Constitution adopted in 1937 is in force. Check computerminus for political system of Ireland.
Administrative divisions: 26 counties (Cavan, Donegal, Monaghan, Leitrim, Lowth, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Longford, Meath, Westmeath, Galway, Offaly, Kildare, Dublin, Clare, Laois, Wicklow, Carlow, Limerick, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Wexford, Kerry, Cork, Waterford) and 5 city-counties (Galway, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Dublin). The largest cities: Dublin, Cork (123.3 thousand), Galway (65.8 thousand), Limerick (54 thousand).
The highest legislative body is Parliament, which consists of two chambers: the House of Commons (Doyle) and the Senate (Shenad). The supreme body of executive power is the government, headed by the prime minister (consists of 16 departments headed by ministers). The head of state is the President (since November 11, 1997 – Mary McAleese).
The President is elected by popular and direct suffrage for a term of 7 years with the possibility of re-election. Doyle is made up of 166 members elected by popular vote under a system of proportional representation. Citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote. Elections are held every 5 years. The Senate is also renewed every 5 years and consists of 60 members. 11 of them are appointed by the prime minister, 6 by the largest universities in the country, 43 are elected by professional “colleges” from among specialists in the field of management, business, agriculture, representatives of workers and other professions.
For the last 20 years, Ireland has been in power in a coalition government formed either by Fianna Fáil or Finegal in alliance with one of the less influential parties: Labor, Democratic Left or Progressive Democrats.
Political parties: Fianna Fail – founded in 1926, Finegal – in 1933, Labor Party – in 1912, Labor Party – in 1969, Green Party, Progressive Democrats, Socialist Party, Sinn Fein.
The leading business organization is the Irish Business and Employers Confederation. Among other public organizations, trade unions stand out, of which there are approx. 50. They unite more than half of those employed in production. The national coordinator for most of them is the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
Ireland’s foreign policy is aimed at achieving peaceful and friendly cooperation between countries, based on international law and morality. Officially, the country pursues a policy of neutrality and non-participation in military blocs. At the same time, in many important international issues, Ireland is guided by the United States and Great Britain. The country shows particular interest in the problem of Northern Ireland, advocating its peaceful solution and playing the role of an intermediary between part of the Northern Irish political forces and the British government.
Within the framework of the UN, Ireland seeks to support international efforts in areas such as disarmament, peacekeeping, human rights, economic and cultural development. Twice it was represented in the Security Council, since 1958 it has been participating in UN peacekeeping operations.
As a member of the EU, Ireland is a signatory to the 1992 Maastricht Accords and has agreed to the provisions contained therein on a joint policy in the field of international security and international relations. Thus, Ireland takes a full part in the formulation and implementation of the EU’s foreign policy.
Ireland actively provides assistance to developing countries. Being a member of a number of international organizations, it is involved in many development programs and currently spends approx. 0.3% of GNP. A number of Irish organizations (“Concern”, “Troker”, “Goal”, “Gorta”, etc.) promote actions related to humanitarian aid and the development of the countries of the world as a whole.
Ireland maintains relations with 102 countries of the world, in 40 of them it has embassies, incl. in the Russian Federation (diplomatic relations with the USSR were established in 1973).
The regular Armed Forces, including the ground forces, the Navy and the Air Force, number 12,750 people. There are also reserve troops numbering 16,200 people. The draft age is 17-49 years. The service is voluntary. In 2002 there were approx. 1.014 million men fit for military service. An average of 32,000 men reach military age every year. Spending on the Armed Forces in 2001 amounted to $700 million and did not exceed 1% of GDP.
The national police force (Garda Shiohana, founded in 1922) is composed of men and women (11,700). The Commissioner is appointed by the Government and reports to the Minister of Justice. With the exception of some special units, the police are unarmed.