Population, GDP, inflation, business, trade, FDI, corruption

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Fast facts
  • Population:
  • GDP (PPP):
    • $ 417.9 billion
    • 5.5% growth
    • Compound annual growth of 10.2% over 5 years
    • $ 88,241 per capita
  • Unemployment:
  • Inflation (CPI):
  • FDI flows:

Ireland’s Economic Freedom Score is 81.4, making its economy the 5th freest in the 2021 index. Its overall score increased by 0.5 points, mainly due to an improvement in judicial efficiency. Ireland is ranked 2nd out of 45 countries in the Europe region and its overall score is higher than regional and global averages.

The Irish economy has maintained its rank among the economically free countries. Further reforms aimed at improving the quality of court proceedings and fully privatizing the banking sector would help consolidate Ireland’s status as a free economy. As the EU makes its post-Brexit transition, the government should also consider additional measures to keep trade and investment flows open.

COVID-19 IMPACT: As of December 1, 2020, 2,069 deaths have been attributed to the pandemic in Ireland, and the economy is expected to contract 3.0% for the year.


The February 2020 general election produced a fractured legislature; Conservative Fianna Fáil (FF) edged out the burgeoning left-wing Sinn Féin party and the center-right Fine Gael (FG) party of outgoing Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar. FF’s Micheál Martin became Taoiseach in June, leading a coalition with FG and the Green Party and with FF and FG governing together for the first time. Under the deal, Leo Varadkar will return as Taoiseach in December 2022. The small, modern, trade-dependent economy has performed extremely well for decades and was among the first in the European Union to recover from the crisis. 2008 financial year. Foreign multinationals dominate the export sector, led by machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, food and animal products.

Rule of lawSee the methodology

Property rights are well protected and guaranteed interests in property, both movable and immovable, are recognized and enforced. Contracts are secure and expropriations are rare. The Irish legal system is based on common law and the judiciary is independent. Pure and simple public corruption is rare and is the subject of investigation and prosecution. Legislation strengthening the regulation of lobbying of post-government services was introduced in 2020.

Government sizeSee the methodology

The top personal income tax rate is 41% and the top corporate tax rate is 12.5%. Other taxes include taxes on value added and capital gains. The overall tax burden is equivalent to 22.3% of total national income. Public expenditure has amounted to 25.1% of total output (GDP) over the past three years, and budget surpluses have averaged 0.02% of GDP. The public debt is equivalent to 58.6% of the GDP.

Regulatory efficiencySee the methodology

An increase in the stamp duty on transfers of non-residential property has increased the cost of registering property. The processing of building permits has also become slightly more expensive. Labor markets are lightly regulated and labor relations are cooperative. Subsidy funding in the government’s 2020 budget is equivalent to 0.4% of GDP.

Open marketsSee the methodology

As a member of the EU, Ireland has 45 preferential trade agreements in force. The trade-weighted average tariff rate (common to EU members) is 3%, with 639 EU-mandated non-tariff measures in force. A commitment to facilitate global investment flows is well institutionalized. Recapitalization and restructuring restored the stability of the financial sector. Banks continue to sell off their relatively large non-performing loans.

Pat R. Madsen