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Yearbook 2004

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 lively debate.

2004 Ireland

Flag - IrelandAccording to 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 elections.

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 held.

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 commissioner.

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.

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