Ireland: Country and Foreign Investment
The Republic of Ireland is a democratic republic, and a member of the European Union (since 1973). The Constitution of 1937 established a bi-cameral legislature consisting of a lower house (the Dail, 100% elected) and an upper house (the Seanad, part-elected and part-nominated). The Head of State, with a largely ceremonial role, is the President, elected by popular suffrage for a period of 7 years. The model of executive government is quite similar to that of the UK, with a party system, a Prime Minister (Taioseach), a cabinet of ministers appointed from elected politicians, and an independent civil service. The most recent elections for the House of Representatives, in February, 2011, elected Fine Gail to power with 45.8% of the vote. Other parties are: Labor Party 22.3%, Fianna Fail 12%, Sinn Fein 8.4%, United Left Alliance 3%, New Vision 0.6% and Independents 7.8%.
In a referendum in June, 2008, Ireland (the only EU country to hold such a plebiscite) rejected the new EU Lisbon Treaty due largely to fears about its tax sovereignty; The text of the treaty was finally approved in a second referendum in October 2009.