The economy of Ireland is a modern knowledge economy, focusing on services and high-tech industries and dependent on trade, industry and investment.
While it ranks among the wealthiest countries in the world today in terms of GDP, Ireland was one of the most impoverished countries in Europe while it was a part of the United Kingdom and for decades after independence. Economic protectionism was dismantled in the late 1950s and Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973. Economic liberalism from the late 1980s onwards resulted in rapid economic expansion, particularly from 1995 to 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. An unprecedented financial crisis beginning in 2008 ended this era of rapid economic growth.
A 2005 study by The Economist found Ireland to have the best quality of life in the world. The 1995 to 2007 period of very high economic growth, with a record of posting the highest growth rates in Europe, led many to call the country the Celtic Tiger. One of the keys to this economic growth was a low corporation tax, currently at 12.5% standard rate.
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