Most of the people in Ireland are descended from people who came to Ireland within the past 7,000 years. Throughout most of Ireland's history, emigration was a major problem. But in the mid-1900's, the population began increasing slowly. At the end of the 1900's, Ireland's economy began to grow rapidly.
All the people in Ireland speak English, and they have a soft accent called a brogue. Today, Irish schools teach Gaelic, as well as English. The Irish government uses both English and Gaelic for official business.
The president, Ireland's official head of state, is elected by the people. But, the president's powers are limited. The prime minister administers laws passed by the Parliament. The Parliament consists of the President, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.
Ireland has four major political parties- Fianna Fail, also called the Republican Party; Fine Gael; the Labour Party; and the Progressive Democrats.
Ireland's army has about 11,200 members. All service is voluntary.