Ireland has a rich cultural life with long
traditions, not least in literature, with names such as
Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Roddy
Doyle and Anne Enright. Even in music, groups such as U2
and The Pogues have hit many places in the world.
Thanks to the medieval monks, not only religious
literature but also folk beliefs and the Celtic fairy
tale world have been preserved in magnificent
At the end of the 19th century, what was called the
Irish Renaissance emerged, a movement with roots in the
island's fairytale and folklore traditions. It was
inspired by national romance and linked to movements
that sought political independence. Even before that,
Irish writers and playwrights such as Jonathan Swift and
Thomas Moore had reached world reputation. They often
came to be regarded as Englishmen because they wrote in
Latest population statistics of Ireland, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
The great authors also include Oscar Wilde, George
Bernard Shaw (Nobel Prize 1925), William Butler Yeats
(Nobel Prize 1923), Sean O'Casey and James Joyce. Later
came Brendan Behan, Flann O'Brien, Samuel Beckett (Nobel
Prize 1969), Frank O'Connor and Edna O'Brien. Nobel
Laureate and poet Seamus Heaney, who was born in
Northern Ireland, lives in Dublin. A younger generation
of authors include Dermot Bolger, Maeve Binchy, Patrick
McCabe, Neil Jordan, Nuala O'Faolain (1940–2008), Colm
Tóibin, Roddy Doyle, John Banville, Anne Enright, Emma
Donoghue, and Joseph O'Connor. Two major international
writers are Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern (daughter of
former Prime Minister Bertie Ahern). A new literary star
shot is Sally Rooney whose two novels, Conversations
with Friends and Normal People.
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Ireland. Artists and albums are also included.
Neil Jordan and Jim Sheridan are among the most
prominent domestic filmmakers. In 2011, the black comedy
The Guard directed by John Michael McDonagh became a
major audience success in Ireland.
Groups like The Dubliners and The Chieftains have
made Irish folk music famous. Among the instruments are
the bagpipe uileann pipes, the flute tin whistle and the
drum bodhran. Typical dances are jig and real. The
groups The Corrs and The Pogues mix folk music with
modern rock music.
U2 belongs to the most popular rock groups. Several
so-called boy bands such as Boyzone and Westlife, which
were formed in the 1990s, have also won a major impact,
as have the twins Jedward who in 2011 and 2012
represented Ireland in the Eurovision Schlagfestival.
The great upswing for the popular music industry is
due in part to the fact that in 1969 the government
introduced tax exemption for the authors' income (also
applies to literature and art), although some
restrictions were made in 2005. Many foreign writers,
artists and musicians have therefore settled in the
New controversy around abortion legislation
Another controversy arises around the country's abortion legislation, when
doctors, for fear of prosecution, refuse to turn off the respirator for a young
woman who is brain dead after a blood clot because she is pregnant in the 18th
week. This happens despite the fact that her family has wanted to let her die
and despite the possibility that the fetus will survive is minimal. According to
the Irish Constitution, an unborn child has the same right to life as a pregnant
woman. The Supreme Court decides at the end of the month that doctors can
discontinue life-sustaining treatment. The case is considered a preliminary
New protests against water charges
Protests against the new water charges continue. Demonstrations in Dublin
gather up to 100,000 participants.
Adams Ireland's most popular party leader
Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams remains Ireland's most popular party leader, despite
a marked decline in the fall. This is likely due to the debate over how he
should have acted in connection with a rape case in Northern Ireland. Máiría
Cahill has accused Adams and several other leading Northern Republicans of
blaming her for being raped by an IRA activist on numerous occasions in 1997,
and also forcing her to meet the perpetrator on a number of occasions in
connection with an internal "legal process". The four people identified deny
that they have had any part in a litigation trial. The case has been debated in
both the Northern Ireland and the Irish Chamber of Deputies. In Dublin, this
leads to a tough exchange of words between Prime Minister Kenny and Gerry Adams.
Protests against new water charges
During the autumn, protests against the government's decision to introduce
water charges in cities and other urban areas are growing. Particularly
extensive are those in poorer suburbs of Dublin such as Tallagh and Jobstown.
However, the government promises to present a new and simplified proposal for
water charges. In addition, it promises a discount for those who register with
the new water company, Irish Water. Debaters at the same time argue that it is
difficult to claim money for a water system that has such large shortcomings and
that the protests are largely about the cuts made after 2011 to such an extent
that they have the worst (see also Current policy and Natural resources, energy
Child allowances are increased, "loopholes" for large companies must be
For the first time in several years, the Irish Government can present a
budget that does not primarily contain austerity. This is done a year earlier
than planned. The government states that it is not prepared to give up the low
corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, but that one should clog the "loophole" that
existed that could have given multinational companies extra low tax. Companies
must also register in Ireland. The rules will apply to all new companies from
January 2015, while transitional rules will apply until 2020 for other
companies. Child allowances are increased by EUR 5 a month for all children,
income tax is reduced by one percent for those with the highest income and
low-income earners are allowed to earn more before having to pay tax.
Contributors will also receive extra money for Christmas, which was abolished
during the crisis years.
Growth is accelerating
Reports indicate that the Irish economy has started to recover faster than
other euro area countries, largely due to the success of the export industry.
According to forecasts, growth will be closer to 5 percent in 2014. However, it
is pointed out that, although house prices have started to rise, they are still
40 percent lower than they did before the crisis. Unemployment is also high,
about 11 percent.
Denied abortion after rape
A new case involving Ireland's controversial abortion legislation raises
upset feelings. A young woman who became pregnant after a rape before arriving
in Ireland is denied abortion by a panel of two psychiatrists and a obstetrician
as she is in the 16th week of pregnancy. It must have been almost eight weeks
since she first asked for an abortion. Because the woman is an immigrant, she
does not have the opportunity to travel to another country for the intervention.
She starts a hunger strike, but the child is delivered by Caesarean section
during the week of pregnancy and taken care of by the authorities.
Burton's new Labor leader
Labour's Deputy Party Leader Joan Burton wins the vote on party leadership by
77 percent of the vote against 22 percent for Deputy Health Minister Alex White.
Burton also replaces Gilmore as Deputy Prime Minister.
Apple's tax treaty is being investigated
The European Commission decides to launch a formal investigation into what
the US IT company Apple's tax settlement looks like in Ireland (see also
October 2013). Apple has been operating in Ireland since 1980 and has
4,000 employees in the country. Other large companies are also reported to use
loopholes in Irish legislation to avoid paying taxes. The European Commission
says it is also considering investigating similar problems in countries such as
the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Backlash for Labor in the EU elections
In the elections to the European Parliament, Labor receives just over 5
percent of the vote and is thus left without a mandate. Party leader Eamon
Gilmore announces he is leaving. The Green Party will also be without a mandate.
The largest party will be Fianna Fáil with just over 22 percent of the vote,
giving the party 1 of Ireland's 11 seats, and Fine Gael who also wins just over
22 percent (4 seats). Sinn Féin takes home almost 20 percent and 3 seats, while
the last 3 seats go to independent candidates. The turnout is 51.6 percent.
Success for Fianna Fáil in the local elections
In the Irish municipal elections, Fianna Fáil receives the most votes, ahead
of Fine Gael, Sinn Féin and Labor.
Ireland's credit rating is raised
Credit rating agency Moody's upgrades Ireland's status from Baa3 to Baa1,
largely due to the country's relatively high growth rates.
Suits the British state for terrorist acts
Relatives of the victims of three bomb attacks in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974
sue the British state through the Belfast High Court. In the attack 33 people
were killed and over 300 injured. UVF, a semi-military loyalist (Protestant)
group from Northern Ireland, admitted in 1993 that it had done the killing.
There are also suspicions that people within the British Security Service and
the Northern Ireland Police should have known about the attack plans without
trying to stop them. In 2003, a former judge in the Supreme Court of Ireland
presented a report stating that there were grounds for these suspicions, but
that there was no evidence. The criminal investigation in 1974 was closed after
only a few weeks and no one has been charged with the death.
The Minister of Justice resigns
At the beginning of the month, Minister of Justice Alan Shatter resigns after
a report of harsh criticism of, among other things, the Justice Department in
connection with a scandal (see March 2013). In her farewell
letter, however, Shatter rejects some of the criticism.
Gerry Adams is released
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams will be released by Northern Ireland police on
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams seizes
The conflict in Northern Ireland at the end of the month also casts its
shadow over Irish politics. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, who sits in the Irish
Chamber of Deputies, is being arrested in accordance with British terrorist
legislation. He is being questioned about the IRA's murder of 10-year-old mum
Jean McConville in 1972. Adams says he has not been involved in the act, and he
has throughout the years denied that he was a member of the IRA (though it was
widely believed he had a leading role). McConville was abducted by the IRA who
mistakenly suspected her of being an outsider. The Republican group admitted in
1999 that it had murdered and buried her in a secret place. Her remains were
found in 2003. In Irish press, it is speculated whether it is now time for Sinn
Fein to change leaders to avoid dealing with questions about the party's dark
The President travels to the UK
At the beginning of the month, Irish President Michael D Higgins travels to
the UK for a state visit. This is the first time an Irish head of state has done
this in the neighboring country. Both the Irish and British Governments now
emphasize the good relations between the countries (see Foreign Policy and
Police in windy weather
Ireland's chief police officer, Martin Callinan, resigns after being
criticized by police who have revealed that their colleagues have let
celebrities avoid fines for traffic delays. The deal has also reached the
government where Callinan is being defended by Justice Minister Alan Shatter
while being criticized by Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore. Shortly
thereafter, the police and the Minister of Justice end up in new winds after
revelations that the police had secretly recorded calls made at police stations.
There are over 2,500 tape recordings, and it is feared that the police also
recorded conversations between the suspects and their defense attorneys.
Callinan should have known about this and must have ordered a stop for the
interception in November 2013. The government appoints a commission to
investigate the interception charges.