The economy of Ireland is a modern knowledge economy, focusing on services and high-tech industries and dependent on trade, industry and investment. Ireland's economy expanded in 2020 by 3.4% despite the devastation of the pandemic as surging exports countered a slump in domestic demand.

The following tables and chart will tell the change details in last 5-10 years:

Ireland Distribution of workforce from the last 5 years:

Sector 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Agriculture 5.29% 5.05% 4.77% 4.62% 4.49%
Industry 18.55% 18.84% 18.81% 18.7% 18.53%
Services 76.17% 76.11% 76.42% 76.68% 76.98%

Ireland Distribution of GDP across economic sectors:

Sector 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Agriculture 0.89% 0.91% 1.17% 0.92% 0.9%
Industry 38.17% 36.97% 35.75% 36.8% 35.18%
Services 53.96% 55.59% 56.38% 55.82% 56.72%

Here attached the last 10 years chart of Ireland GDP: (amount in billion USD):


3 Sectors of the Economy – Agriculture, Industry and Services:

  • Agriculture:

Agriculture is an important part in the Ireland's economy. Ireland almost self-sufficient in agriculture products. It employs 5% of the total workforce of Ireland and contributes almost 1% in the Ireland's economy.

Every year Ireland export almost 50% of the total agriculture output in Ireland.

Major products in this sector:

Beef: In 2019, the Ireland export volume was reported to be approximately 1.0 million tons which is worth approximately 2.5 billion Euros. Ireland in 2019 net exports of beef accounted for 85% of production, making Ireland the largest beef net exporter in the EU and fifth largest in the world. Beef contributed almost one-third of the total agriculture export of Ireland.

Dairy: In 2019, Irish dairy exports reached €4.4 billion, making it the largest food and drink export category. Dairy sector contributed more than one third of the total production of agriculture. UK is the biggest importer of Ireland's dairy products and contributes almost 50% of the total import of Ireland dairy products.

Agriculture Subsidy in Ireland:

Ireland gets 6 % share of EU Common Agriculture Programme (CAP). This is very less proportion if we compare with France, Germany and Italy.

European Union Common Agriculture Policy:

The CAP is a common policy for all EU countries. It is managed and funded at European level from the resources of the EU's budget. The CAP takes action with:

  1. Income support through direct payments ensures income stability, and remunerates farmers for environmentally friendly farming and delivering public goods not normally paid for by the markets, such as taking care of the countryside;
  2. Market measures to deal with difficult market situations such as a sudden drop in demand due to a health scare, or a fall in prices as a result of a temporary oversupply on the market;
  3. Rural development measures with national and regional programs to address the specific needs and challenges facing rural areas.
  4. Industries:

Industries plays an important part in the Ireland's economy. It accounts for 35.18% of the GDP and employed almost 18.59 % of the workforce.

Major Industries in this sector:

Pharmaceutical: Ireland is the leading destination for pharmaceutical activity, 85+ biopharmaceutical companies call Ireland home, Ireland is the third largest exporter of pharmaceuticals globally and 50 FDA-approved manufacturing plants are located here. Ireland is the largest MedTech employer in Europe; this sector employs over 25,000 people directly, and a further 25,000 are employed providing services to the sector. Similar numbers are also employed in the pharma/biotech industry. As well as corporate tax relief, Ireland also offers a 25% tax credit on qualifying research and development making it a great incentive for pharmaceutical organizations.

Organic Chemicals: In 2019 Ireland exported $40.5 billion worth of chemical products which is almost 22.7% of total export in Ireland's economy. Chemical sector employs almost 30,000 people in the Ireland. UK is the major exporter of Ireland Chemical products and exported almost 25% of total Chemical products.

  • Services:

Service sector is an important part in the Ireland's economy. It contributes almost 57% in the GDP and employed almost 79% of the total Ireland's workforce.

Key Industries in this Sector:

Information and Communication Technology: Ireland is the second largest exporter of computer and IT services in the world. With a highly creative and talented workforce, an open economy and a competitive corporate tax environment, Ireland has successfully attracted eight of the top 10 global information technology companies to establish a significant presence here. Ireland's $40 billion ICT Industry accounts for 13% of GDP. Over 1,000 digital companies operate in Ireland including major US firms such as Apple, Cisco, Facebook, Google, HPE, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter. There is also a very significant SME community of digital technology companies encompassing both international and indigenous firms. 

Finance: In 2019 financial sector contribute almost 11 billion Euros in GDP which is almost 7% of the Irish GDP. Ireland financial sector is not as strong other European countries but still it contributes 2.3 billion Euros in taxes for Irish government and employs almost 42,000 people in Ireland. The major player in this sector is Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank which covers almost 50% share in the financial sector.

Top Companies in Ireland:

Company Name Sector Forbes 2000 Rank
Medtronic Health Care 150
Accenture Professional Services 248
Johnson Controls Industrials 299
Eaton Corporation Conglomerate 361
CRH plc Building Materials 385
Ingersoll-Rand Industrials 585
Allergan Pharmaceuticals 595
Aptiv Automotive 740
Allied Irish Banks Banking 770
Ryanair Airline 841

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *