- 4.8 million
- $188.9 billion -0.3% growth -1.1% 5-year compound annual growth $39,547 per capita
- $35.5 billion
Ireland’s economic freedom score is 76.6, making its economy the 9th freest in the 2015 Index. Its score is up by 0.4 point from last year, with a notable combined improvement in the management of government spending and monetary freedom outweighing declines in half of the 10 economic freedoms including property rights, labor freedom, and freedom from corruption. The Irish economy is ranked third out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its score is far above the world and regional averages.
Two years of gains in economic freedom have not totally reversed losses earlier in the past half-decade. During that period, Ireland’s economic freedom has declined by over 2.0 points, with ratings for freedom from corruption and business freedom recording the
This erosion of economic freedom has undermined competitiveness and hindered economic recovery in a difficult external environment. Nonetheless, by adhering to its commitment to policies that sustain open markets and reducing the costs of a bloated public sector to restore fiscal soundness, Ireland has been able to reemerge as one of the world’s 10 freest economies.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael government was elected in February 2011. Ireland’s modern, highly industrialized economy performed extraordinarily well throughout the 1990s and most of the next decade, encouraged by free-market policies that attracted investment capital. However, a speculative housing bubble burst in 2008 and generated a financial crisis. A 2010 National Recovery Plan was implemented after the government nationalized several banks, and Ireland accepted a $90 billion European Union–International Monetary Fund rescue package. The policy agenda aims to get the economy back on a solid footing by 2015. In February 2013, Ireland reached agreement with the European Central Bank to restructure loans and ease the debt burden incurred when the Anglo Irish Bank was nationalized in 2009. Ireland’s economy was expected to grow in 2014, but the ratio of public debt to GDP remains very high.