Feb 14, 2005

Some local cows
"View from a Bridge"

Feb 13, 2005

Lone parents in Ireland

The Conference on Women and the Labour Market in Europe compared data from 14 countries and found that the UK and Ireland have the highest number of single mothers aged between 18 and 35.

The conference focussed on young single parents and although we're in second place, the data shows our single parents are getting older.

Most people claiming lone parent allowance here are aged between 30 and 39, while the numbers aged 24 and under have been falling steadily.

The survey also revealed that Ireland has the most generous social welfare payments for single-parent families. The report's author concluded that there was a direct link between the level of social welfare and the incidence of single parenthood.

Meanwhile, the Government is planning to replace the current lone-parent-allowance with a new child benefit system which would no longer demand that single parents live alone

Feb 7, 2005

Cheap credit card rates Ireland

The latest Introductory Rates on credit cards in Ireland (Feb 2004)

Balance transfersPurchasesIntroductory Period

Ulster Bank 0% on Bal transfers and purchases for 9 months
Teso - same deal for 6 months
National Irish Bank - same as this for 5 months.

Feb 5, 2005

NCT Testing Day

We had the car NCT'd today (National Car Test)- it's a bi-annual test to make sure the car is safe enough to drive. It costs just over 44 euro - and is mandatory if your car is over 3 years old. We had the car serviced and a pre - nct check about 3 weeks ago . So we thought it would be fine....but it failed on the headlight alignment and the indicator lights having water in them! So it's back to the garage and then a retest for 22 euro within the month.
All good stuff.

Ah well - it was a lovely day here - sunny and cold. Great skys and views. Living in Ireland is just fine

Feb 4, 2005

Fox Hunters moving to Ireland!

Times Online - Buying & Selling

Now the fox hunting ban is in force in the UK - it seems a lot of the fox hunting fraternity are looking to move to Ireland where it is still allowed. Well - I personally hope that it is banned here soon too. Look out for lots of upper class English people with lots of dogs in a large house near you!!
God help us.

Feb 2, 2005

Salary and wage levels Ireland

Headline figures from a recent Irish Salary Survey

Projected total base salary increases across all sectors for 2005 averages 4.6%. This compares to actual average increases awarded across all sectors in 2004 of 5.0%.
The Banking/ Financial Services sector shows the highest average projected increase for 2005 of 5.4% compared to 6.2% actually awarded in 2004.
The IT/ Telecommunications sector shows the lowest projected average increase for 2005 of 3.7% compared to 3.5% for 2004.
Actual average actual increases in 2004 for categories of staff are - Executives 4.4%, Senior Management 4.8%, Middle Management 4.8%, Professionals 5.0%, Clerical 5.0%, Manual/Line Worker 4.7%.
Projected average actual increases in 2005 for categories of staff are - Executives 4.5%, Senior Management 4.7%, Middle Management 4.6%, Professionals 4.7%, Clerical 4.6%, Manual/Line Worker 4.6%.

From PCW

Non EU Work Permits in Ireland

Work Permits Ireland
In Ireland employers have the responsibility for making a work
permit application on behalf of a prospective
employee. Companies intending to process work
permit applications must advertise the position on
the Government employment agency (FÁS)
website for a minimum period of 4 weeks.
Exemptions may be granted to this requirement if
the individual being recruited has very specific
experience and qualifications for the role being
Current processing time for new work permit
applications at the Department of Enterprise,
Trade & Employment is between 8 and 10 weeks.

Intra-Company Transfer (“Pre-Clearance”)
In late 2002, the Department of Enterprise, Trade
& Employment (DETE) announced the temporary
suspension of the Intra Corporate Transfer (ICT)
scheme, which previously allowed multi-national
organisations to post workers to Ireland for a
temporary period of up to 4 years without the
requirement for a work permit, provided certain
conditions were satisfied.
The ICT scheme remains suspended indefinitely.
However, in certain circumstances where senior
individuals are required to fill critical positions, it
may be possible to apply for pre-clearance in
order to enable such individuals to work in Ireland
without the need for a work permit.
In addition, individuals who transferred to Ireland
prior to 29 October 2002 and who registered under
the ICT scheme before that date, continue to qualify
for the duration of the assignment, up to a maximum
of 4 years. However, if the assignment is extended
beyond 4 years, an application for a work permit must
be made as soon as the anticipated change in
departure date becomes known.

Work Authorisation / Working Visa
The work authorisation/working visa scheme only
applies to qualified individuals with key skills that are
in short supply and who are working in the IT, nursing
and construction sectors.
This scheme allows a prospective non-EEA
employee to apply to the Irish Embassy or Consulate
in his country of normal residence for a working
visa/work authorisation to enable him to work in
Ireland. In a recent initiative, the immigration
requirements for spouses of individuals who hold a
work authorisation/working visa have also been
Individuals applying for work authorisation/working
visa must have a valid contract of employment with
the Irish organisation. The working visa/work
authorisation is usually valid for a period of 2 years.
In contrast to a work permit, which issues on behalf
of the employer, the work authorisation/working visa
belongs to the employee. Once an employee obtains
a work authorisation/working visa, he is free to
change employers after arriving in Ireland.

Personal Debts Increase in Ireland

Last year, for the first time to date, Irish people had more debt than they were able to pay back out of their disposable income. (Story from Irish Times)

The Central Bank now estimates that personal debt stood at 120 per cent of disposable income at the end of 2004, up from 97 per cent in 2003.

This means that for every €1 of after-tax income last year, Irish people owed €1.20. Ten years ago, before the economic boom, they owed just 48 cents for every €1 in after-tax income.

This surge in the ratio of personal debt to disposable income could cause big problems in the future if the pace of growth is maintained, the bank's economists believe.

The Central Bank warned of the "heightened vulnerability" of households to higher interest rates or changes to their job status. Interest rates are currently at a cyclical low, but most commentators expect them to begin rising within the year.

When taken together, all households in the Irish Republic owed €85 billion at the end of September. This was almost six times higher than in 1995, with the increase attributable to a greater general level of comfort with debt.

Disposable income has, however, grown much more slowly, allowing debt to surpass it for the first time last year. Irish households are now more indebted than most of their European neighbours.
The main driver behind the shift in the appetite for debt was the property market, with ever-climbing house prices translating into a greater demand for mortgage credit than ever before. Last December alone, lenders advanced €1.6 billion in home loans.

The Central Bank pointed out, however, that while the high level of house prices and strong growth in credit were still a cause of "concern", mortgages had the benefit of being well secured on properties. This means that they can be repaid if the property is sold.

Growth in demand for housing loans, which account for roughly 80 per cent of all lending to households, is furthermore expected to slow as house prices stabilise.

The Bank went on to note that unsecured and expensive credit card debt has also been climbing in line with the State's collective wealth.

At the end of last November, €1.8 billion was owed on credit cards, although the bank estimated that about one-third of this would have been paid back without incurring any interest penalties.

The bank also noted that growth rates in credit-card debt had been easing over recent years. "There is, therefore, no sense of an explosion of credit-card debt in Ireland."

The Bank said the general outlook for the economy remained "broadly favourable", even though it has slightly reduced its gross national product economic growth projection for this year.

The reduction, from 5 per cent to 4.75 per cent, reflected developments in the international economy rather than at home, the economists said. Unlike some other commentators, they did not identify the expected fall-off in house-building as an obvious risk to the economy, suggesting instead that it would result in a shift towards other areas of building.

The prediction came as the Construction Industry Federation said the surge in house-building had peaked, with 2005 to see a fall in the number of units completed.