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Republic of Ireland

Note: In late November 2010 the finance ministers from the European Union (EU) approved a $114 billion rescue package (underpinned by loans from the EU and the International Monetary Fund) for Ireland’s beleaguered financial sector, assuming adoption by the government of stringent austerity measures such as reduced public-sector employment and tax increases. The bailout arrangements further eroded support for Prime Minister Brian Cowen, who on January 22, 2011, resigned as leader of Fianna Fáil and called for early elections. Two days later the Green Party withdrew from the government, although the party agreed to support the EU-mandated budget legislation.

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 ...

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