The society of Ireland continues to be homogeneous. The population of the country is predominantly of Celtic origin. An Anglo-Irish minority, descended from English ancestors who settled in past centuries, constitutes most of the remainder. There are no other significant ethnic minorities. Almost all the people speak English, and about one-forth also speak Irish, a Gaelic language that is the traditional tongue of Ireland. Irish is spoken as the vernacular by a relatively small number of people, mostly in areas of the west.
The workforce of Ireland is gradually becoming diverse. The society of the country continues to be very structured. The workforce of Ireland is one that attracts many companies. It is very unique in that- Ireland has the youngest population in Europe with over 40% under the age of 25 years. They are also highly educated and highly motivated. Emigration has declined in recent years and immigration has increased. In 1997, there was a net flow of 15,000 people, the highest such figure since the 1970s.
Roman Catholics are 93 percent of the people of Ireland, and 4 percent of the people are Protestants. Protestants groups include the Church of Ireland (Anglican) and the Presbyterian and Methodist denominations. Freedom of worship is guaranteed by the constitution. The Catholic Church has played an integral role in Ireland's cultural and political history. Presently the influence of the Church is diminishing. Only a minority of the population attend Mass regularly. In 1995, Irish citizens voted to lift the ban on divorce. Abortion is still illegal, though hotly debated.
Family life in Ireland is usually very strong. In rural areas, extended families often live near one another, and family members who have moved to Dublin or overseas in search of work often return for Christmas and other family celebrations. Socializing with friends or family in pubs, clubs, re