Republic of Ireland
Political Status: Independent state since 1921; under republican constitution effective December 29, 1937.
Area: 27,136 sq. mi. (70,283 sq. km.).
Population: 4,239,848 (2006C); 4,325,000 (2007E).
Major Urban Centers (2006C): DUBLIN (506,211), Cork (119,418), Galway (72,414), Limerick (52,539).
Official Languages: Irish (Gaelic), English.
Monetary Unit: Euro (market rate November 1, 2008: 1 euro = $1.27US).
President (Uachtarán na hÉireann): Mary Patricia McALEESE (Fianna Fáil); elected on October 30, 1997, and inaugurated for a seven-year term on November 11, succeeding Mary ROBINSON (nonparty); reelected without opposition on October 1, 2004, and sworn in for a second seven-year term on November 11.
Prime Minister (Taoiseach): Brian COWEN (Fianna Fáil); nominated by the Dáil on May 7, 2008, and appointed by the president and sworn in the same day in succession to Patrick Bartholomew ...