Ireland. On 1 January, Ireland took over the EU
Presidency for six months. A clear success for the Prime
Minister, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, was when the member
states agreed at the end of June on a new long-term budget
for the EU for the period 2014-20.
When it came to the Irish economy, it initially looked
darker as GDP growth fell by a total of 0.8% during the
first half of the year. Thereafter, a slow recovery began.
During the spring, eurozone finance ministers had agreed to
a longer repayment period on the loans Ireland received from
the EU. At the same time, increasing criticism was directed
at the country's low corporate tax rate (12.5%) and how
large multinational companies - including large companies
such as Google, Apple and several pharmaceutical companies -
used loopholes in Irish law to avoid paying taxes in other
countries, despite high profits. countries.
In June, the Irish Independent newspaper revealed that
the management of the crisis bank Anglo Irish Bank in 2008
deliberately put the then Fianna Fáil-led government behind
the light when it came to how large sums were needed to save
the bank. It quickly became apparent that the € 7 billion
that the government entered into was insufficient (the bill
for Irish taxpayers eventually ended up at € 30 billion).
Prime Minister Kenny decided to set up an investigation to
investigate what had happened. From 2010, Ireland was forced
to take large emergency loans totaling over € 67 billion,
and the so-called troika, the European Commission, the
European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund
(IMF), had a major impact on economic policy.
Countryaah, the Troika continued to press for the government to take
new major austerity measures in the 2014 budget. Finance
Minister Michael Noonan also presented a new crisis budget
in October, the eighth in order, but the cuts were slightly
smaller, EUR 2.5 billion instead of EUR 3.1 billion, which
was a concession to Fine Gael's coalition partner Labor.
Earlier in October, the government had lost by a marginal
vote a referendum where voters said no to abolish the Senate
in order to save money. However, a positive news was that
unemployment fell from at most around 15% to just over 13%
in September, both because more jobs were created and many
Irish people left the country to work abroad.
In November, Enda Kenny announced that Ireland, as
planned, would not have to ask for new emergency loans from
the beginning of 2013/2014 without the government being able
to continue to borrow the money needed in the open market.
The aftermath of the many scandals surrounding the
Catholic Church in Ireland continued. At the beginning of
the year, the government presented a report on the thousands
of women who were exploited for forced labor in the
so-called Magdalen Netwashes run by the church in 1922–96.
The investigation showed that more than one in four women
were sent there by state authorities. After initially acting
reluctantly, the government promised in June to pay up to €
58 million in damages to hundreds of women sent there by the
state. In a speech in Parliament, Prime Minister Kenny
apologized for the state's role in the abuses.
In April, the investigation became clear about what
happened to Indian Savita Halappanavar, who passed away at a
Galway hospital in 2012 after being refused an abortion,
despite her life being in danger. The ban on abortion is
enshrined in the Constitution of Ireland. According to
investigators, Halappanavar died as a result of a "medical
accident". The Supreme Court had already ruled in 1992 that
abortion would be allowed in cases where the woman's life is
in danger. A new law on abortion was adopted by both
chambers of Parliament; According to it, abortion could be
permitted even in cases where there is a risk that the woman
will take her own life if she has to give birth to the
child. The law was severely criticized by the Catholic
Church and other abortion opponents. Four MPs from Fine Gael
voted no to the new law and were excluded from the party. In
August, the first abortion was carried out in accordance
with the new law.
A tribunal headed by Judge Peter Smithwick ruled in
December that people in the Irish police in 1989 had
provided information to the Irish Republican Army (IRA) that
led to the murders of two highly-regarded Northern Ireland
police chiefs. The Irish Minister of Justice made an apology
for the security shortcomings that made the murder possible.