Jun 1, 2014

Top 20 Towns in Ireland - according to Retail Excellence

The results of a survey organised by "Retail Excellence" - ended up with this list of the top 20 towns and cities in Ireland. The survey was based on answers to questiona about things such as facilities, shops, restaurants,

Westport  County Mayo   score 85.61%
Killarney  - Kerry 84.58%
Swords  - Dublin 83.92%
Ashbourne  - Meath 82.28%
Dungarvan - Waterford 80.40%
Carrickmacross  - Monaghan 80.10%
Clonakilty  - Cork 79.31%
Malahide  - Dublin 78.07%
Skerries  - Dublin 78.06%
Listowel  - Kerry 77.55%
Kilkenny City  - Kilkenny 76.54%
Castleknock -  Dublin 76.50%
Tramore  - Waterford 75.06%
Galway City  - Galway 75.02%
Tullamore  - Offaly 74.48%
Wexford  - Wexford 74.04%
Ratoath -  Meath 73.99%
Carrick on Shannon. -  Leitrim 73.00%
Cobh  - Cork 71.80%
Kinsale  - Cork 71.45%

The top 2 towns - Westport and Killarney are major tourist destinations.  The survey results may be biased because many of the respondents will be involved in the tourist business  and are probably more likely to give positive results

The key questions in the survey were :

1. Is there an abundant number of car parking spaces available?
2 Is car parking competitively priced?
3 Has the town/city a unique and attractive streetscape?
4 Is this town/city well presented and maintained?
5 Has this town/city a large number of quality retail stores to choose from?
6 Has this town/city a large number of quality restaurants & pubs to choose from?
7 Is there a lot to do and see in this town/city?
8 Do you feel safe and secure when you visit this town/city?
9 Is this town/city family friendly?
10 Is this town/city my first choice destination for shopping?
11 Is this town/city my first choice destination for dining & entertainment?
12 Are there many events and promotions being run in this town/city?
13 Does this town/city have a unique and positive image?

The bottom 10  towns in the survey were
Limerick City(91st)
Tipperary (100th)

Charges for Water in Ireland

From October 2014 all households in Ireland will be charged for water. The average charge is supposed to be €240 a year - but the charges could range from €0.00 to €700 a year.
Eventually - the plan is - that most homes will have water meters and charges will be based on usage.
There will be a certain amount of water that will be "free" - this is expected to be the first 7500 litres each quarter (30000 litres a year) per household.
Meters will not be installed in all homes that are due to have them until 2016. Some homes will never have meters installed. Unmetered homes will still have to pay for water  - but the charge will be "assessed" based on average/estimated  usage for similar households.

Water charges will be made up of a charge for water used and wastewater processed (sewage).
Many rural homes are not connected to the mains sewage - and therefore will not be charged for their wastewater . We expect the water bills to be about 55% for wastewater and 45% for water usage.

If a home has it's own well or private water supply - they will not be charged for water supply. 

There are some estimates of how much the water charges will be here.

Currently the expenditure on domestic water services in Ireland is covered by government (From taxation).
The 34 local authorites were responsible for water services -  but now a new semi-state body called Irish Water has taken on responsibility and they will be issuing the bills.

First water bills are due in Jan 2015 - with charges for Oct Nov and Dec 2014 .

Jan 6, 2014

Thousands of People are Still Moving to Ireland

Moving to Ireland is still a choice made by many thousands of people.

Ireland’s non-Irish population makes up 12% of the total population (about  544,000 people.) The majority are from EU countries.

In 2013, approximately 166,000 new applications (i.e. visa, residence, protection and citizenship) were received by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

The 2013 year end estimate of non-EEA nationals with permission to remain in Ireland is approximately 120,000. The majority of persons with permission to remain in the State are here for work or study purposes.
The current top 6 registered nationalities  are India (11%), Brazil (10%), China (9%), Nigeria (8%), USA (6%) and Philippines (6%).

 Approximately 95,000 entry visa applications were received in 2013, an increase of 8% on 2012 and a cumulative increase of 14% on 2011. The approval rate for entry visa applications was 91%.

The top 5 nationalities applying for visas for Ireland  in 2013 were India (16%), Russia (15%), China (11%), Nigeria (6%) and Turkey (5%).

The total number of non-EEA students registered to study or train in Ireland at the end of 2013 was approximately 39,600. This is one third of all the non-EEA nationals with permission to remain in the Ireland.

Of these students - 39% of students are in  Higher Education (Degree Programmes) , 21% are engaged in further education (non Degree) courses, 27% are taking language courses and 13% other (e.g. secondary school).

International Protection and Asylum
Provisional figures indicate that 946 applications for asylum were submitted in 2013. The equivalent figure for 2012 was 956. The comparative figure in 2002, when the volume of asylum applications was at a peak, was 11,600.

Oct 22, 2013

LPT - Property Tax for 2014

Property Tax for 2014 will soon be due for payment by hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland.

Yes - you're probably thinking I've got my dates mixed up - but it's true. The 2014 liability date for the LPT is Nov 1st 2013.
The tax is due by Jan 1st 2014 - but for the majority of people who paid by debit card or credit card  or cheque - the payment will need to be made in November 2013. That's a full years payment for 2014 before Christmas 2013 !. They moved the Budget - and retailers hoped that would help boost the Christmas shopping sales - but now the extra cost of the LPT will mean the Christmas retail spending could be way down this year.

What happens if I don't pay on time ?
. You will get a reminder sometime in the first few months of 2014. There are no penalties for late payment - just for non payment - and Revenue will give you chance to respond to reminders.
They have the option to dedcut the LPT from wages / pensions - so they might do that after a few months if you still haven't paid up.

You may as well set up a direct debit - it will then be spread over 2014 in smaller even payments which won't be such a shock to you bank balance just befor Christmas.

See the dates and more details about the Property Tax Due in 2014 Here

Sep 3, 2013

Budget 2014 On the Way

Irish people have had 3 years of Austerity Budgets - with cuts in welfare, increases in taxation and loss of public services.  The 2014 Budget is going to be the last one under the EU/IMF bailout program - and we can expect more of the same stuff.  It is expected that another €3.1 billion will be found by making more cuts in spending, more cuts in welfare and more increases to taxation.

In previous budgets - pensioners have been protected from cuts to the state pension - whilst childbenefit has been cut along with most other welfare payments.  With negative inflation in recent years - it could be argued that the state pension is due to be cut - but will the government be able to cope with a pensioner backlash?

The Budget date is Oct 15th this year instead of December - this is to fit in with EU timetables. The leaks and  rumours will be flying about all over the place in September as the politicians try to scaremonger the population.  By "leaking" false cuts or tax increases - the ploy is to get the general public to feel relieved when they find out the reality is a smaller cut or tax increase. It happens every year.

Later in 2014 we will have the new water charges in Ireland - which could average out at €300 to €400 a house. On top of the property tax - this coul be the final straw for many people. Emigration might become more popular.

Online Shopping is Growing in Ireland

Spending on online shopping by Irish shoppers hit  €1.4 billion in 2012 and is predicted to rise to €2.8 billion by 2018. 
A report by Mintel also found that 35 per cent of people in Ireland had shopped online in the previous three-month period, ( The UK figure was 65%) .
Overall in Europe , online shopping is probably still in its infancy, with ecommerce sales not exceeding 10 per cent in any of the markets examined.
The proportion of all sales generated online in Ireland is curently about 4.3 per cent. That is estimated to rise to 4.9 per cent by the end of this year, before reaching 7.6 per cent by 2018. Compared with the UK, where 2018 will see online shopping account for 15.2 per cent of all sales by 2018.

Ignoring travel - most online shopping purchases in Ireland are clothes and sports goods, with books, magazines and elearning materials also popular.

More on this site which is a directory of Online Shops that Deliver to Ireland

Jun 29, 2013

Numbers of People Moving to Ireland

The latest figures on people moving to Ireland show that about 52700 people moved to Ireland from overseas in 2012. These numbers are about one third of the numbers that moved here in 2007 .

Nationalities of people moving to Ireland in 2012
People with Irish nationality made up the biggest percentage of "immigrants" - with 20600 returning in 2012.
People moving to Ireland from the UK  totalled 2200.
There were 7200 people from the  the EU original countries  ( Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Portugal )

10400 people from the rest of the EU  moved here in 2012 ( Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania)

People moving to Ireland from other countries in the world such as the US , China , Africa -  totalled  12400 in 2012.

Overall the population of Ireland is still increasing - although there are still thousands of people leaving Ireland too.
Many of the immigrants move to Ireland because of jobs. With many of the big online companies based in Ireland - there is big demand for IT skills and language skills . Google, Facebook, Ebay and Amazon are just some of the companies that have offices in Dublin where they employ thousands of people.

A recent article on the top reasons for moving to Ireland reported that work was the main reason for Moving to Ireland.

EU citizens are free to live and work in Ireland without visas or work permits.  People from outside the EU will need a green card (work permit) to enable them to move to Ireland and work here.
Most jobs with salaries over €60,000 are eligible for green cards.
There is a shortage of some skills in Ireland - so workers with these skills will qualify for green cards even if the salary is under €60,000

These are the areas of skill shortages in Ireland
ICT : Computer systems managers; Computer analysts; Computer programmers; Database administrators/architects; Business process specialists; Messaging and communications specialists; IT architects; IT security specialists; IT project managers;  Data analysts; Web developers ; IT network specialists;; Software engineers and software developers (all languages including JAVA); Application and computer testers; Application developers; Computer gaming developers and designers; Cloud computing specialists; IT legal specialists including IT contract specialists; Localisation specialists; IT intellectual property specialists; IT-enabled education specialists; IT foreign markets specialists and UI/UX engineers.

Health  Registered nurses, Medical practitioners,  Pharmacists/Pharmacologists , Dentists, Clinical nursing managers and advanced nursing practitioners , Dieticians, Orthoptists, Medical scientists, ECG technicians, Neurophysiological measurement technicians, Cardiac catheterisation technicians, Vascular technicians, Respiratory technicians, GI function technicians, Audiologists, Biochemists, Medical radiographers

Professional engineers and technologists : Electrical engineers; Chemical and formulation engineers/analysts (including with active pharmaceutical ingredients background); Design and development; Network, Validation, Product development; Planning; Process and quality control; Regulation engineers; Industrial hygiene engineers; Telecommunications validation engineers; Manufacturing instrumentation and control technicians; Electronics engineering/Applied physicists. All sectors Researchers and natural scientists Researchers, Chemists, Natural scientists, Biological and Microbiologists, Physicists and Material scientists and Bio-pharmaceutical R & D project managers

Business and financial professionals -
Chartered and certified accountants, Actuaries, Management consultants, Business analysts, Compliance specialists, Risk analysts/specialists, Tax experts, Legal experts

These are the jobs that are not eligible for a green card - regardless of wages.

All Clerical and Administrative Jobs
All General Operatives/Labourers ; All Operator and Production Staff ; All Domestic Workers (including Carers in the Home and Childminders)* All Work Riders (Horse Racing);

All retail sales vacancies,  ; All drivers including HGV
Nursery / Crèche Workers, Child Minder/ Nanny
All Hotel and Catering jobs (except chefs.)
Bricklayers, Cabinet Makers, Carpenters/ Joiners, Carton Makesr, Fitters - Construction Plant, Electrician, Instrumentation Craftsperson, Fitter, Tiler - Floor / Wall, Mechanic - Heavy Vehicles, Instrumentation Craftsperson, Metal Fabricator, Painter And Decorator, Plumber, Printer, Engineer - Refrigeration, Sheet Metal Worker, Tool Maker, Vehicle Body Repairer, Plasterers and Welders .