Ireland. Much indicated that Ireland’s economy was recovering. Among other things, the credit rating agency raised Moody’s Ireland’s credit rating at the beginning of the year, making it easier to borrow money on the market. Moody’s noted that Ireland left the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) support program in December 2013 and believed in continued improvement for the Irish economy. In May, Moody’s upgraded Ireland’s status further, largely due to the country’s good growth figures.
In the otherwise gloomy autumn forecast of the European Commission, the former crisis country Ireland stood out as a rare joy and was predicted to have the greatest growth in the EU. The Irish upturn was then estimated by Digopaul.com at 4.6%, compared with 1.7% in the spring.
Interest rates on long-term government bonds fell to 3.21% in January, which was the lowest level since the outbreak of the crisis in 2008. This also reflected increased confidence in the country’s ability to pay. In the fall of 2011, when Ireland was forced to ask for emergency loans, the 10-year interest rate was at most up to 15%.
According to Countryaah.com, Ireland population in 2020 is estimated at 4,937,797. Housing prices in Dublin rose by 22% year-on-year, which was the biggest increase since 2006.
Chief of Police Martin Callinan resigned in March following a dispute. The background was that two whistleblowers revealed that high-ranking police officers let famous persons avoid fines for traffic violations. Callinan dismissed the claim, but an independent investigation found evidence that the cheating should have taken place, and Callinan resigned following criticism from the government.
Shortly thereafter, Callinan, along with Justice Minister Alan Shatter, landed in new winds of secret recordings of conversations at police stations. The recordings were feared to have consequences for ongoing and closed court cases. The government appointed a commission to investigate the interception charges. A criminal investigation was also launched to investigate whether the police had secretly taken note of journalists’ call lists. Justice Minister Shatter resigned in May following harsh criticism in connection with the scandal. In his farewell letter, however, he rejected some of the criticism.
According to opinion polls in April, Ireland’s largest opposition party, Liberal Fianna Fáil, had as much support as the Conservative government party Fine Gael. The third largest party was the nationalist party Sinn Féin, while the Social Democratic Labor was only 8%.
In the EU elections at the end of May, Fianna Fáil received 22% of the vote. Fine Gael also gained 22%, while Sinn Féin took home almost 20%. Labor received just over 5% of the vote and remained without a mandate. As a result of the defeat, party leader Eamon Gilmore announced that he would step down as soon as a replacement was appointed. Voting was 51.6%.
In July, Deputy Party Leader Joan Burton succeeded Gilmore as Labor leader. She also replaced Gilmore as Deputy Prime Minister and became the party’s first female leader.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins went to the UK in April for a state visit. In light of the countries’ historically frosty relations, the visit, which was the first of its kind, was seen as a success.
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was arrested and questioned about the murder of ten-year-old mum Jean McConville as the IRA separatist movement conducted in 1972. Adams, who has denied for all years that he was a member of the IRA, denied involvement in the murder. He was released after four days of police interrogation. The IRA is accused of killing 1,700 people during the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland.
Relatives of the victims of three bomb attacks, which killed 33 people in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974, sued the British state. Despite the fact that the Protestant semi-military group Ulster’s Volunteer Force (UVF) assumed responsibility for the 1993 death, no one has been charged. However, the applicants suspected that people in the British security service and Northern Ireland police should have known about the plans.
In June, the European Commission launched a formal investigation into IT giant Apple’s tax scheme in Ireland. In 2013, Apple paid only 3.7% of tax on its revenue outside the United States by closing all revenue through subsidiaries in Ireland. Other major corporations, such as Google and Microsoft, were also accused of avoiding tax through similar arrangements. Up to 800 children were found in a mass grave at a home for unmarried mothers in the Tuam community. The home, run by the nun Bon Bon Secors between 1925 and 1961, received unmarried women who became pregnant, which at that time was considered a shame. The children, from three months to nine years old, appear to have died from neglect. A police investigation was started after the macabre discovery and the government decided to investigate all previous homes for single mothers.
After 20 years of debate, in July Parliament made the controversial decision to allow abortion – if the woman’s life is clearly in danger, including the risk of suicide. This was upheld by the Supreme Court as early as 1992, but it was never entered in the statute book. However, abortion is basically still prohibited. Fine Gael’s European minister Lucinda Creighton chose to step down after voting against the abortion proposal.
Shortly thereafter, the new abortion legislation was put to the test when a young immigrant woman, who stated that she had become pregnant through rape before coming to Ireland, was denied abortion and began a hunger strike. However, the woman’s life was not considered to be in danger and the health authorities were given permission to deliver the child with an early caesarean section.
Ian Paisley, pastor and former leader of the Unionist Party DUP in Northern Ireland died in September at the age of 88. Paisley was known as a hard-line leader who consistently refused to compromise with Catholics in the province. In 2007, however, he agreed with Catholic Sinn Fein on a division of power and became prime minister in the unifying government.
Emma Madigan became Ireland’s new ambassador to the Vatican in November, three years after the country closed its embassy in the city state. Officially, the embassy was closed for economic reasons, but in diplomatic circles it was seen as a mark against the Vatican leadership, which Ireland has accused of trying to obscure a report of sexual abuse by priests.
A cross between sheep and goat was born at farmer Paddy Murphy’s farm in Ballymore Eustace, Ireland. The hybrid was not planned, but was the result of a bock and a thank you amorous exercises.