Ireland is a country that is more open to and engaged with the outside world than most others. We have seen that despite the attempts of early policy makers to create a self-sufficient state, Ireland’s small size and limited natural resources meant that the Irish economy depended on its contact with Britain. So despite independence, the Irish economy was effectively a region of Britain. Ireland’s almost complete dependence on Britain has eased in the last thirty years as the EU and the USA have become important markets for Irish goods and sources for investment. But the Irish have had an impact well beyond the economic sphere. The Irish, more than most in western Europe, were and are willing to travel for employment opportunities. This has created a population that was, again despite the efforts of policy makers, open to outside influences, particularly from the main destination countries, the UK and USA.
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