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Disorderly Brexit would harm Ireland, in Country Profile


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Ireland flag

Flag Facts

While officially its flag colors have no meaning, a common interpretation of Ireland’s flag is that the green represents the Irish nationalist (Gaelic) tradition of Ireland; orange represents the Orange tradition (minority supporters of William of Orange); and white symbolizes peace (or a lasting truce) between the green and the orange.

Location: In Western Europe and officially the Republic of Ireland, it occupies five-sixths of the island of Ireland in the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s slightly larger than West Virginia.

Language: English and Irish

Total Population: 5.07 million

Capital: Dublin

Government: Parliamentary republic

Religion: Roman Catholic (78.3%), Church of Ireland

Economy: Among the most open economies in the world and heavily driven by foreign direct investment and exports, Ireland is a wealthy country that in 2017 grew GDP 4.1 percent. Though economic activity dropped sharply during the world financial crisis from 2008-2011 and the government had to accept a $92 billion loan package from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, Ireland’s recovery has been strong. Job creation remains a priority for the Irish government, with unemployment at 5.4 percent, down from a high of 15.1 percent in early 2012. In 2017, U.S. exports of goods to Ireland exceeded $10.8 billion and included chemicals and pharmaceuticals, computers and electronic products and travel and tourism.

News note: The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union presents a great risk to Ireland’s economy, along with possible changes to international taxation policies that could affect Ireland’s revenues. A disorderly Brexit would hit Ireland hard, and as of press time potentially the most contentious part of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal was a plan aimed at avoiding a hard border between the Irish Republic, which remains in the EU, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K.

GDP (official exchange rate): $331.5 billion

Currency: Euro (conversion rate at press time: 1 € equals $1.13 USD).

Franchising in Ireland: In a market that’s friendly to franchise systems, Ireland adheres to EU laws governing their operation. The EU Regulation 4087/88 EEC regarding franchising provides a unified code for all the member states. It primarily addresses price fixing, transfer pricing, non-competition clauses, and exclusive dealing. It also exempts certain franchise agreements from the EU anti-trust regulations. A cautionary tale: Get your trademarks and trade dress registered long before you decide to go into Ireland. A case in point is a Johnny Rockets lookalike, Eddie Rocket’s, a ‘50s style American hamburger diner with a big presence on the Irish Franchise Association’s website.

Ease of doing business ranking by World Bank: 23, no change from 2018.

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