A 52-page report by the CSO has for the first time detailed the depth of the economic and social links binding the economies of Ireland and Britain — ties which could be under threat if the UK pursues its hard Brexit line in its looming divorce talks with Brussels.
The report Brexit: Ireland and the UK in Numbers also underscores the economic significance of a number of Irish labour-intensive industries, such as meat and meat preparations and energy products, which dominate exports and imports across the Irish Sea.
Meat products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, perfumes and cleansing products and dairy goods feature on the ‘top five’ list of goods exported to Britain, with the UK buying a total of €15.6bn of Irish goods, accounting for almost 14% of all Irish goods exported last year around the world, according to the report.
Imports from Britain, which include the ‘top five’ of petroleum; gas fuels; “miscellaneous” manufactured products; essential oils, perfume materials, toilet and cleansing preps; and the category of “other” commodities, came to €18bn, or over a quarter of all goods the Republic imported in 2015.
The CSO said a further €18bn, or 18% of all services exports in 2014 — the most recent year for which figures are available — went across the Irish Sea, while the Republic bought in €11.4bn in services, or 10% of all such imports from Britain.
The “people” section of the report shows that Irish-owned firms employed 86,180 people in the UK in 2014, while Irish firms generated €37.6bn of turnover, or almost 38% of all their worldwide turnover, in the UK.
Meanwhile, there were 112,259 UK nationals, or 2.5% of the population, usually resident in the State, in 2011.
Proportionately more UK nationals lived in Munster, Connacht and the Ulster region than in Leinster, the CSO said.
By county, 20,640 UK nationals lived in Dublin and 13,892 lived in Cork.
In 2011, there were 46,902 UK nationals at work, while 15,093 were unemployed, according to the CSO figures.
There were 8,277 UK students studying in the State, and 31,231 UK retirees.
“Following the vote by the electorate in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in June 2016, the CSO decided to compile a suite of aggregate tables which describes the relationship between Ireland and the UK in numbers,” CSO director general Pádraig Dalton wrote in the foreword of the report.
The CSO said it welcomed comments on the new report.
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