Ireland - Country history and economic development

1800. British rule over Ireland, present since the 12th century, is extended to the entire country by the 17th and 18th centuries and further centralized with the Act of Union in 1800 (whereby no parliament sat in Dublin anymore).

1870s. Strong national movement emerges in Ireland. The national political movement in favor of "home rule" succeeds in incorporating both members of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and peasant famers who seek land reform. But resistance on the part of conservative British governments and the strong will of the Protestant population of the northern province—Ulster—to remain in the union delays home rule.

1914-18. A more radical stream of nationalism begins.

1919-21. Guerrilla-style war for independence ensues. The Unionist population of Northern Ireland remains adamant that no granting of either home rule or independence to the island should include them.

1922. The Anglo-Irish treaty gives 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland independence from the United Kingdom with some symbolic restrictions, such as the retention of the crown as head of state. The remaining 6 counties in the north of the island remain part of the UK.

1923. Those for and against the treaty fight a civil war over the spoils of government and some over the retention of symbolic links with Britain, which ends in the capitulation of the anti-treaty forces, who then form the political party Fianna Fáil in 1926.

1925. Partition of the island into Eire and Northern Island is informally made permanent.

1938. More than a decade of politically provoked and disastrous "economic war" with Britain ends.

1940. Ireland declares itself neutral in World War II.

1949. Although informally a republic since 1937, Ireland is formally declared a republic.

1950s. Emigration increases rapidly, and rural poverty becomes widespread.

1960s. The inward looking, tariff-centered economic policies are rejected in favor of an open policy, but the state still plays a huge role in the economy.

1970s. High government spending increases the national debt to unsustainable levels and sparks off high inflation. The oil crisis of 1979 also hits the country hard.

1973. Ireland joins the European Economic Community, along with Britain and Denmark.

1980s. High inflation and unemployment levels alongside income tax that reach over 65 percent.

1987. Ireland endorses the Single European Act, which establishes the common European market. The first social partnership agreements of the 1980s negotiate a plan for national economic recovery.

1990s. Tighter fiscal policies, trade and enterprise-friendly economic policies, and social partnership agreements, alongside other factors such as the long-term benefits of EU transfers, facilitate a turnaround in the economic fortunes of the country.

1991. EU countries sign the Maastricht Treaty, which formalizes the plan for European Monetary Union and agrees on the ground rules for entry into EMU.

1994-98. Following the paramilitary cease-fire in Northern Ireland and long negotiations, a peace process results in political agreements between Britain, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.

1995-96. The economy shows strong growth and a significant increase in employment opportunities.

1998. Ireland endorses the Amsterdam Treaty, which extends EU co-ordination of social and security policy and enlargement.

1999. EMU is introduced and the European Central Bank takes over monetary powers in Ireland.

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