Business style is informal; first names are used and although suits are worn, jackets are often taken off. Above all, visitors should avoid treating their Irish hosts as anything other than the modern Europeans that they are. Small talk, leading to trust, is an important element, so plenty of time should be allowed to complete a deal. Irish wit is fast flowing and engaging and is evident in most business situations. Discussion of Irish political issues is best avoided. It is advisable to steer clear of business visits in the first week of May, during July, August and at Christmas or New Year.
In Dublin, due to traffic congestion during rush hour, breakfast meetings are growing in popularity. Lunch meetings are frequent, although meeting in a pub or bar (from around 1730 onwards) for a few beers and/or for dinner (at around 2000) is also common.
Not so long ago Ireland's economy was characterised as the 'Celtic Tiger', the country having transformed itself from a struggling nation into one of the most prosperous in Europe.
After a long growth spurt, however, this economic boom came to a halt in 2008 as a result of the global economic downturn, suffering greatly. The property bubble was particularly inflated here. The global recession saw the Irish economy slump severely, with Ireland recently accepting an €85bn bail-out from the IMF and EU in order to shore up the country’s balance sheet. A modest return to growth was seen in 2011, but Ireland’s woes very much continue to be felt and a stringent four-year National Recovery Plan will be in force until 2014.
US$195.9 billion (2011).
Machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and animals.
Data processing equipment, transport equipment, grains, textile yarns, and chemicals.
Public payphones are still found in major towns and cities, but widespread mobile usage means these are becoming less common. Private payphones can sometimes be found in hostels, bars and internet cafes. It’s advisable to use a pre-paid phone card where possible.
Roaming agreements exist with a broad range of international mobile phone carriers, and coverage is good.
Internet is readily available, and internet cafés exist in nearly every town.
An Post (www.anpost.ie) is the state-owned provider of postal services. It gives the option of a premium Express Post International service for mail going overseas.
Post office hours:
Mon-Fri 0900-1730/1800; Sat 0900-1300. Sub-post offices close at 1300 one day a week.
The national public broadcaster Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE) dominates the radio and TV sector. It provides a comprehensive service in both English and Irish. British public and private terrestrial TV acts as a rival interest.
The Irish print and broadcast media operate freely within the confines of the law. Broadcasting is regulated by a commission appointed by the Department of Communications. The Competition Authority safeguards against unfair competition in the press sector. Cross-media ownership is permitted within certain limits - press groups may own up to 25% of local radio and TV stations.
There are several daily newspapers published in Dublin, including the Irish Independent and The Irish Times; The Irish Examiner is based in Cork. British dailies and Sunday papers are widely available.