The industrial sector has maintained its share in total economic activity at 39 percent of GDP throughout most of the 1980s and 1990s. This trend is unusual in developed countries and reflects strong growth. Although marking a slight slowdown from 1995 to 1998, growth in 1999 was high at 10.5 percent. Strong performance from both foreign-owned and indigenous Irish industry, primarily in the high-tech manufacturing sector, has driven the growth.
Significant reserves of zinc and lead ores, natural gas, and peat are to be found, and the latter 2 supply a third of domestic energy demand. Zinc and lead ores sustain one of the biggest zinc and lead mines in Europe and approximately 4,000 jobs. Ireland is a small country with limited natural resources, and a well-developed, open, and globally-integrated industrial economic policy is therefore essential to economic health.