Ireland. In March, Ireland was the first country in Europe to
ban smoking in all workplaces. This meant that smoking was
no longer allowed in pubs and restaurants, which sparked a
CountryAAH, the total population in Ireland is 4,937,797 people in 2020.
Economic growth slowed down and, above all, savings in
health care led to criticism of the government. The largest
government party Fianna Fáil returned big in the municipal
elections on June 10, while the largest opposition parties
Labor and Fine Gael made a decent election. Sinn Féin, the
IRA's political branch, managed to double its representation
in municipalities. In addition, for the first time, the
party won a mandate in the European Parliament elections
held on the same day. Fianna Fáil lost a mandate in the EU
In the referendum also held on June 10, nearly eight out
of ten voters voted against all children born on the island
of Ireland automatically having the right to Irish
citizenship. When the Northern Ireland Peace Agreement was
signed in 1998, this traditional right was incorporated into
the Constitution. The government claimed that pregnant women
from outside the EU traveled to I. to take advantage of this
rule. The critics accused the government of trying to play
on xenophobic lawsuits. From Catholic parties in Northern
Ireland, objections were raised that the Irish government
was unilaterally intending to amend the peace agreement.
Ireland held the Presidency of the EU in the spring. It
was seen as a great success for Prime Minister Bertie Ahern
when he succeeded in getting the Union governments to agree
on a new constitution for the EU. In several countries,
among them I., referendums on the new constitution would be
Tensions within the government coalition rose late last
summer, when the market-liberal Progressive Democrats (PD)
wanted to tighten more in the state budget than Fianna Fáil.
A major government reform was made at the end of September.
PD had to see its influence decrease. One of the biggest
changes was that Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy was
forced to leave the government to become a new EU
Presidential elections would have been held October 22,
but as no counter-candidates received enough support, Mary
McAleese could remain as president for a second term.