Dec 18, 2012

Grants for Septic Tank Repair or Upgrade

We wrote earlier in the year about the need to register septic tanks and all other domestic waste water treatment systems in Ireland. The website allows online registration of septic tanks - and the fee is €50 . Registration must be carried out by Feb 1st 2013 The latest news is that if a septic tank or other treatment system FAILS the inspection - then the owners can apply for a grant to help with the cost of repairs or upgrade. The grants are means tested - and will not be available to anyone with household income over €75000 a year. Households with income under €50000 will be eligible for 80% of the costs - with a maximum grant of €4000. People with income between €50000 and €75000 will be able to claim 50% of the cost - with a max payout of €2500. Only Registered systems will be eligible for the grant IF they fail an inspection. Inspections will be targeted to areas of high water pollution or areas of high risk. Unregisterd tanks can also be inspected. There is a possible maximum fine of €5000 for non registration of septic tanks. If the government are hoping that people will look after their septic tanks and stop them polluting the water - then this grant scheme may well have the opposite effect. Why will anyone be worried about failing an inspection ? Why will anyone carry out repairs to septic tanks at their own expense when they can wait for an inspection and then get a grant if/when it fails?

Nov 29, 2012

Property Tax Ireland - How Much ?

Property Tax in Ireland is on the way.
If the government and the Revenue can get things sorted - they hope to be collecting the tax from July
It won't be easy - given the poor registration levels for of the Household Charge. Thousands won't bother registering at all - and it will take loads of man hours and letters and money to track down all the homeowners in Ireland.
Eventually though  - if the tax is kept on for ever - when a house is sold it will have to be paid.
But that won't help boost the poor finances of Ireland right now .

How Much Property Tax Will I have to Pay ?

We have a table showing the calculations for a range of house values .

Check out how much property tax will be for you  here

The main problem is going to be how to work out the value of your home.

Revenue have produced an interactive valuation guide  see more about that Property Tax Valuation Map

Owners will be expected to declare the value of their property - but how will they know what it is worth ?
The only reliable source of house prices is the government  property price register . The problem is - that with so few sales - there is not a lot of information to see for many areas Even if there have been sales near you - there is not a scrap of useful information  on the price register that allows you to compare houses .  The register doesn't have any info about the house type (detached , bungalow, apartment, terraced)  or the number of bedrooms . So - no valid comparison can really be made.
It will just be guesswork - with most people probably going for a low value.
I can see thousands of people just declaring the value as low as €50,000 just to pay the minimum charge.

Self assessment is just a way to avoid doing the job properly. Another hashed attempt at pleasing the IMF - which will result in a mess.

Property Tax In Ireland - Calculator

The implementation of a Property Tax in Ireland should be complete by July 2013.

The amount of Property Tax you pay will depend on the market value of your house.

Who decides what your house is worth ?  You do !

PropertyTax Map
Property Tax Valuation Map
The government haven't got the time or the money to send staff around all the houses in the country to value them - so they expect home owners to do it themselves .  They have provided an online  map based tool that shows average values  - you can read more about the  Revenue Valuation Map Here

How will home owners work out how much their house is worth?

If you have recently bought your house - then I suppose the value will be pretty close to what you paid for it . But - for those hundreds of  thousands who bought a house several years ago - or got one built it won't be easy to try and place a figure on the value. The recently launched Property Price Register is the only source of house sale prices available - but it doesn't contain any details of house type (detached/semi) , or numbers of bedrooms - nothing except the sale date and price. In rural areas it will be almost impossible to find house sales to use for comparison.

Owners don't have to be too exact with the valuation - there are ranges or band of values with €50k intervals that they have to decide in which band  to place their house. It does mean that - for example an apartment valued at €45,000 will be charged the same property tax as a house valued at €99,000. ((€90)

It also means that if someone values a house at €199,000 they will pay €315 - but if they value their house at €201,000 - they will pay €90 more. The property tax will increase by €90 for each band under 1million

Find Out Here - Much  More about Property Tax in Ireland

These are the Irish  Property Tax Rates for 2013 calculated using a rate of 0.18% on the mid value of each band.  (0.25% used on portion of value over 1 Million )

Property Tax Calculator How Much Property Tax Will You Have to Pay ?
House Value : From House Value: To Property Tax
€0 €100,000 €90
100,001 150,000 €225
150,001 200,000 315
200,001 250,000 405
250,001 300,000 495
300,001 350,000 585
350,001 400,000 675
400,001 450,000 765
450,001 500,000 855
500,001 550,000 945
550,001 600,000 1035
600,001 650,000 1125
650,001 700,000 1215
700,001 750,000 1305
950,001 1,000,000 1755
On a house Valued at €1.5 Million - the Property Tax will be €1800 plus 0.25% of 500,00 (€1250) giving a total of €3050 House Valued at 2 Million - Property Tax = €4300
The Property Tax is due to take effect from July 2013 - so only 6 months tax will be charged in 2013. The Household charge will be abolished from Jan 2013 and the NPPR is stopping in 2014.

Find out if you can avoid paying the Property TAx  Here Property Tax Exemptions 

Oct 24, 2012

UK Buyers looking for Bargain Houses in Ireland

British residents and Irish migrants moving back home are taking advantage of lower house prices in Ireland. The weakness of the euro against Sterling has made prices for Sterling buyers even better.

House prices  in Ireland seem to have hit the bottom in 2012  after falling  by 50 per cent or more from the market's peak in 2007. Prices have begun to rise - with 3 months of consecutive price rises according to the CSO .

By selling a terraced home in the UK  -  the proceeds would buy a detached bungalow in good condition with half an acre of land and views, typically for about €150,000 (£122,000).

The house price crash means that people who have thought about moving to Ireland for a long time  can now afford to move.

UK buyers can get the best deals in counties like Roscommon and Leitrim   where the majority of properties in this area are for sale below their build cost, such as four-bedroom bungalows of around 2,000 sqft in excellent condition and on an half acre of land, which are selling for around €150,000. At the peak of the market in 2007 these would have sold for approximately €300,000.

Many are buting a second home for holidays and  others are moving over lock stock and barrell.
For some peopla owning an Irish cottage is much more fun than having the slowly diminishing savings it has replaced.

The move to Ireland is popular with  people looking for a self-sufficient lifestyle and older couples retiring or wanting to be nearer children and grandchildren. You also get people who were born in Ireland, but have lived in the UK most of their life, returning home.

Oct 7, 2012

Euro Exchange Rate Forecast

The European Central Bank (ECB) left interest rates unchanged at 0.75% at its October meeting. With much
attention focused on the ECB’s new sovereign bond buying scheme launched last month – Outright Monetary Transactions (OMTs) – ECB President Mario Draghi was at pains to stress the importance of the conditionally element. The ECB will activate the programme only after governments commit to strict fiscal consolidation and structural reform plans. Crucially, it will halt the programme if fiscal plans are subject to review and exit the programme if governments fail to fulfil their fiscal promises. As hoped, the OMT had a quiet but good start. Though it remains clientless, its mere announcement helped to reduce sovereign borrowing costs for the likes of Spain and Italy as markets acknowledge the potential of the scheme. But
overall economic conditions in the monetary block remain poor. Recent survey data indicate that the labour market and business conditions will remain challenging given the continued slowdown in economic activity as both domestic and global demand remain weak. Worryingly, with the Eurozone almost certainly in recession, more austerity is on its way.

Dublin in top 10 Best Cities for Start Ups

 Fortune magazine in the US  has named Dublin as one of the seven best cities in the world for start-ups.
The top 6 was mad up of  Copenhagen, Oulu (in Finland)), Eindhoven (Netherlands), Stockholm, Zurich and Singapore.
Fortune said it looked for cities that share the San Francisco Bay Area's "potent combination of creativity and capitalism".It started with data from the Global Innovation Index andlooked for places that were "especially hospitable to companies seeking the mix of talent, curiosity, and risk taking that leads to game-changing new products and services".
Dublin is cheaper than London, boasts low corporate tax rates, and everybody speaks English, Fortune said.
Its "Silicon Docks" neighborhood houses tech giants Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Zynga. Last year Twitter announced that it was opening its third international office  in Dublin, making the city its European headquarters.
Fortune also noted that the annual Dublin Web Summit is one of the fastest-growing tech conferences in Europe.

Sep 25, 2012

Health System Reforms in Ireland

The introduction of a new type of  health service in Ireland  - operated on the basis of a universal health insurance, should be completed by 2016.

The Department of Health has detailed the  steps it plans to take in the nest 3 years - and how the new system will work.
Under universal health insurance every person will be insured for a standard package of services. It will be mandatory for people to have insurance - but people will have the ability to choose their insurer.
Queue-jumping will not be allowed under the new system.
Insurers nor providers operating within the universal health insurance system will not be allowed to sell faster access to services covered by the universal health insurance standard of care.

It is not clear yet exactly what services will be covered under the " standard package " - so it looks like for non standard services it may still be possible to jump the queue .

The DOH say that the  universal health insurance system will involve multiple insurance funds and will be based on community rating and risk equalisation.

Community rating is the principle that that all insured persons  pay the same amount for similar products regardless of their age or risk status.

Risk equalisation allows for insurance companies with larger numbers of older subscribers – who are considered to be a greater risk of making claims – to receive money to compensate them from rival companies with younger profiles.

The current health insurance regulator, the Health Insurance Authority, will be replaced with a new body, the Insurance Fund.

The  Department of Health expects that all the legislative and operational groundwork for the introduction of universal health insurance will be completed by 2016.

A key element of the health reforms is the provision of free primary care services. It has already been announced that from this year free access to GP care will be extended to people covered by the long-term illness scheme.

Between now an 2016 , the aim will be for a phased expansion to the remainder of the population until universal coverage is achieved.

Jul 30, 2012

Mobile Phone Charges in Ireland

Ireland is one of the biggest users of mobile phones in Europe. The average number of monthly call minutes per customer in Ireland is 247  - that is   35% above the EU average.
The average number  text messages sent is of around 250 a month . 

In Ireland Comreg say that 75% of all mobile voice minutes in Ireland  in 2011 were classified as mobile-to-mobile . About 11% of mobile voice minutes were to fixed line phones, while the remaining 13% were  international roaming or premium rate calls

How much will you have to pay if you are an average user?
Example :  If you use 250 call  minutes and send 250 text messages  a month  - the lowest price you will get  is just €150 a month at 48Months . For €20 a month they will give you UNLIMITED calls and texts to mobile phones in Ireland  and 20 minutes of calls to landlinesplus 3GB of data.

48Months are a new company using the O2 network  who are aiming at the 18 to 22 age group. They are online only and don't sell phones just give out free SIMs.

The next best option is from Tesco Mobile (billpay) - who for €20 a month will give you 300 minutes, 300 texts and 0.5Gb of data. But - if you go over those limits you will be hit with charges of 20c per minute and 10c per text message.

People who are on other billpay packages could be paying as much as €60 for the same amount of calls and texts (250 each). They have probably been stuck on the same package for years and don't realise thay could save as much as €600 a year by moving provider.

The average revenue generated from each customer by the mobile phone companies in Ireland was  €38.80 a month. This is 30% above the EU average.

The total annual revenue of the mobile phone companies in Ireland was about €1.6 Billion in 2011 - so maybe it's about time we tried to reduce the amount of money we hand over to them.

Note - although 48months seem to be saying their service is aimed at 18 to 22 year olds - there are no checks made on DOB

Jul 24, 2012

Work Permits no longer needed for Romanians or Bulgarians

On 17 July 2012 the Irish Government decided to end restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians accessing the Irish labour market with effect from 1 January 2012. This means that nationals of Romania and Bulgaria no longer need an employment permit to work in Ireland.

Jul 13, 2012

Popular Names for Baby Girls in Ireland

These are the Top Twenty most popular names for girls in Ireland  - born in 2011.  Emily was the most popular name for baby girls in 2011.

1 Emily
2 Emma
3 Grace
4 Lily
5 Sarah
6 Lucy
7 Ava
8 Chloe
9 Katie
10 Ella
11 Mia
12 Aoife
13 Caoimhe
14 Kate
15 Leah
15 Hannah
17 Anna
18 Saoirse
19 Ruby

These girls  names increased in popularity in Ireland between 2010 and 2011
Michaela  Muireann Sofia  Kayla  Eve Meabh

For girls where both parents were Irish nationals, Emma was the most popular name.
For babies with parents of UK nationanality - Ruby was the most popular girls name
Rebecca  ranked first for parents from the EU 15 (excluding Ireland and UK)

Julia was the most popular name for babies with parents from the  Accession states . Outside
of parents of EU nationality, Sarah was the name that ranked highest of baby
girls registered in Ireland.

Popular Irish Names for Boys

Jack was the most popular boys name for babies born in Ireland in 2011.
Jack has been the most popular boys name in Ireland since  2007

Of the 38,223 boys born in Ireland in 2011, 840 (2.2%)  of them were named Jack
James was the second most popular boys name.

The top five boys’ names in Ireland in 2011 were Jack, James, Sean, Daniel and Conor.  These  same names have been in  the top five since 2007.

New Boys Names - There were four new entries to the top 100 for Irish born boys:
Mason, Donnacha, Tommy and Zach

Ryan was the most popular name in  South Dublin, and counties Laois, Louth, Wicklow, Sligo, Cavan and Donegal.

Alex was the most popular boys name in Cork City and Jamie topped the rankings in County Monaghan.

Jun 29, 2012

American Moved to Dublin

A blog fram an American lady who went to Dublin 10 years ago - and never left.

She says .." My relationship with Dublin has been an incredibly slow burning one, like the kid in school that you always got stuck sitting next to, but absolutely hated and eventually became best friends with. Eventually a fondness bred, until one two-week holiday abroad, when I suddenly realised that I could not wait to get home and home was Dublin."

Foreign Languages in Ireland

Ireland is one of the countries where people are least likely to be able to speak another language

Ireland was fifth worst with 60% not being able to speak another language - but better than   Hungary (65%), Italy (62%), the UK and Portugal (61% in each).

  40% of Irish respondents said they could  hold a conversation in one additional language this (includes Irish).

In countries like Luxembourg (98%), Latvia (95%), the Netherlands (94%) and Sweden (91%) say that they are able to speak at least one language in addition to their mother tongue.

Group of young people from different countries

 The most common additional languages for Irish people are Irish (22%), French (17%), German and English (both 6%).

Jun 26, 2012

Septic Tanks can now Be Registered

The system for registering septic tanks and other domestic waste treatment systems in Ireland is now up and running.
For the first 3 months (until 26th September 2012) the registration fee is jst  €5  – after that the  fee rises to  €50 .
The deadline for registration and payment  is  1st February 2013
All  Domestic wastewater treatment systems have to be registered - so that includes septic tanks, waste water tanks, soakaways , reed beds , and all proprietary treatment systems such as Envirocare , Bord na Mona , Klargester , BioCycle,  BioDisc , EPS , Bison -etc.   Whatever system you have in place it needs to be registered. Just because it isn't an old fashioned septic tank - don't think the rules don't apply.
Basically – if your house is not connected to the mains sewerage system you will need to register.

You can register online at and pay by credit card or debit card.

You can also registerat your  Local Authority Office  where you can pay by cash , credit or debit card , cheque, postal order or  bank draft .

Registration forms should also be available from  Libraries; Citizen Information Centres or by calling  1890 800 800.

Registration forms need to be returned to this address : Protect Our Water, P.O Box 12204, Dublin 7.

Jun 22, 2012

Prices in Ireland Compared to the rest of EU

In the latest survey of  consumer  prices in the EU  Ireland came in as the seventh most expensive overall.
Consumer prices overall in Ireland were 117% of the EU average.The UK came out at 15th - with  overall prices  just 2% above the EU . Germany was 13th with 3% above the average.

The top 3 most expensive European countries were Switzerland (162%), Norway(151%) and Denmark (142%)

However, for clothing and consumer electronics, Irish prices are below the EU average. Clothing prices were 92% of the EU average and consumer electronics 92%.

For consumer electronics Ireland was 4th cheapest - only Poland , Lithuania and Bulgaria had lower prices.
For clothing - Ireland was the 9th cheapest - with only  Poland Spain Malta Hungary Macedonia Bulgaria Albania Turkey having lower prices for clothing.

Ireland was the second most expensive place in the EU for Alcohol and Tobacco with prices 164% of the EU average. Norway was top- where alcohol and tobacco prices were a massive 250% of the EU average.

If you are looking for somewhere with cheap alcohol and cheap hotels - then Macedonia and Albania fit the bill !

Jun 20, 2012

Medical Cards Ireland

Medical Cards  : People who hold a Medical Card are entitled to a range of Health Services free of charge.

There are 1,787,839  people covered by Medical Cards in Ireland according to the HSE as of  April 2012. This is an increase of 131000 compared to April 2011. (7.9%)
The number of people with GP Visit cards is 128,929 – which has also increased since April 2011 by about 8000 (6.5%) .

Medical cards are issued mainly on the basis of having a low income. Some people qualify based on age (over 70's get one if their income is below  €700 for a single person and €1400 for a couple.)
If you have a Medical Card - all the following are FREE

  • Doctor Visits -
  • Prescription Medicines: ( A 50c charge applies to all prescription medicines dispensed to medical card patients.)
  • Certain Dental, Ophthalmic (Eye), and Aural (Ear) health services
  • Hospital Care - all in-patient services in public wards in public hospitals, including public consultant services
  • Hospital Visits - All out-patient services in public hospitals, including public consultant services
  • Medical & Midwifery Care for Mothers, including health care related to pregnancy and the care of the child for six weeks after birth
  • Some personal and social care services, for example, public health nursing, social work services and other community care services based on client need

If you belong to one of the following groups, you will get a Medical Card under EU Regulations:
  • You are living in Ireland and receiving a social security payment from another European Union  country or Switzerland and you are not getting an Irish social welfare payment
    (apart from Child Benefit or Early Childcare Supplement). You must not be liable to contribute to the Irish Social Welfare System, (i.e. PRSI)
  • You are living in Ireland and working in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland and are liable to pay Social Insurance Contributions in that country. (Includes Northern  Ireland)
  • You are living in Ireland and you are the dependent spouse or child of someone employed in another EU/EEA country and Switzerland. You must not be getting an Irish Social Welfare Payment apart from Child Benefit or Early Childcare Supplement and you must not be liable to contribute to the Irish social welfare system

Jun 15, 2012

Household Appliances in Ireland

These are the figures showing what appliances people have in their homes in Ireland . From 2009 2010 Household Survey by CSO

Percentages of households with these appliances ....

Vacuum cleaner  94.5
Tumble dryer  66.2
Washing machine 96.3
Dishwasher 63.2
Refrigerator  26.1
Refrigerator with freezer  79.4
Separate deep freeze 35.3
Microwave oven  91.0
Television set(s)  97.2
One TV set only  32.4
Two or more TV sets 64.8
DVD Player 82.7
Home computer  77.3
Games console 38.9

Household Facilities in Ireland

Figures from the Household Survey 2009 - 2010 - these are the facilities that households in Ireland have .
More  households have mobile phones than landlines  yet only two thirds have internet access.
Thirty one percent of households had 2 or more cars  - which seems a large figure. Overall - 80.6% of households own at least one car.

Percentage households with-
Piped water - cold  99.4
Piped water - hot 99.0
Bath or shower 99.8
Toilet (internal)  99.9
Piped gas  40.1
Electricity  99.9
Telephone (fixed) 70.2
Mobile phone 96.0
Double glazing  89.2
Burglar alarm 39.1
Internet access  65.8
Garage 27.4
Patio doors  57.9
Motor car - one only  49.0
Motor car - 2 or more 31.6
Motor cycle  1.6
Second home  4.2

Jun 14, 2012

Cost of Living Figures for Ireland

Average figures for the cost of living are useful for trying to see if you could afford to live somewhere on a fixed income.  It would be no good moving to another country on a set income if the cost of essentials such as food , heating , clothes etc were too high.

The Irish Central Statistics Office do an annual survey of household expenditure in Ireland - and the figures from that can be used to give a good idea of the average cost of living in Ireland. Of course your family may not be the "average family" - but some figures are better than nothing at all. All the figures shown below are from Ireland in 2009 - 2010. Inflation since then has been in the region of 2% a year - so the figures will not have changed significantly in 2012 .

The figures below are average weekly amounts per household ..

Food :    €131.28
Alcohol  € 26.40
Household Non Durables (Cleaning products , toilet paper , cosmetics etc)  €16.49
Heating/ Lighting  :  €35.35
Transport   €68.40 (This includes petrol , car tax, insurance, bus and rail fares and taxi fares.)
Clothing €40.11
Telephone  €24.98 (Mobile and Landline)
TV € 9.77
Medical Costs € 53.00  (Includes health insurance , medicines, doctors dentists, opticians and hospital fees.) 
Home Insurance  €8.20 (owners)
Refuse Collection  €3.69

Note:  Medical costs will be lower for lower income households - because if they qualify for a medical card they will pay no doctors fees and only 50c for a prescription. They will not need insurance either)

There are some figures here on the cost of living in Ireland - how much does it cost to maintain a miminum standard of living in Ireland

Jun 11, 2012

Irish Bonfire Night

June 23rd is known as bonfire night in Ireland.
It's a tradition carried on from the pagan midsummer festival - which was then moved to become St Johns Eve when the Catholic Church hijacked all the pagan festivals for themselves.

In the past -  people would say prayers, asking for God's blessing upon their crops. They would also take ashes from the fire, and spread them over their land as a blessing for protection for their crops. It was also common to have music, singing, dancing, around the bonfire.

As might be expected, there was plenty of eating and drinking!  In some areas of Connacht  a special dish called “Goody” was made. This was white ‘shop-bread’ which had been soaked in hot milk and flavored with sugar and spices. It was usually made in a large pot that was either placed on the  bonfire or heated on a smaller fire close by. Revelers brought their own spoons and bowls if they wanted to share in the “Goody.”

Some people would  bring home  an ember from the communal fire and place it on the family hearth. Some families also kept ashes from the fire for luck, others because they believed the ashes would ensure a peaceful death to old people who were ailing.

Now it's more of  an excuse for everyone to burn all their rubbish - even though it's illegal.
You shouldn't hear any fireworks - because they are illegal too in Ireland - but there will probably be a few let off anyway . Laws aren't followed too strictly here in Ireland !

Halloween is also a popular night in Ireland for bonfires (October 31st).
In England they have Bonfire Night on November 5th to remember the failed attempt by Catholic Guy Fawkes to blow up the houses of Parliament.

Jun 9, 2012

Angry Birds Firm Could Be Moving to Ireland

The company that created the Angry Birds mobile phone game is considering moving its headquarters to Ireland. Angry Birds has been downloaded by more than a billion users around the world and its owner, the Rovio group, is developing a broad-based entertainment business on the income from the brand.

The company’s profits before tax and other charges was more than 60 per cent of its income, he said.
Rovio employs approximately 400 people, mostly in Finland, but Rovio is in contact with IDA Ireland about establishing headquarters here.
“The Irish authorities have been very active and we have been promoting that. We are considering it,” Mr Hed said, speaking in Monaco, where he is a contestant in the Ernst & Young International Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
“It is something that we need to look at. For now we have stayed in Finland. But it is on top of our minds.”
He said that if the decision was made to move to Ireland, the company would then decide exactly what elements of its operations would move. “If we did make that decision then it would be a natural thing to do to have some production [in Ireland] also.”
The corporation tax rate in Finland is 24.5 per cent, while Ireland’s rate is 12.5 per cent. Most of the world’s fast-growing technology companies, such as Google and Facebook, have set up European headquarter operations in Dublin so as to benefit from Ireland’s low corporation tax rate.

Jun 2, 2012

Short Stay Visa Waiver Ireland

The short-stay visa waiver programme, which was introduced in Ireland in July 2011, was initially to apply until October 2012. It has now been decided to extend it for a further four years and some other changes are being introduced. The programme allows people from the listed countries to come to Ireland without a specific Irish visa if they have a visa to enter the UK.

Under the Programme, people
(i) who are nationals of one of 16 countries covered by the scheme,
(ii) who have entered the UK on  a UK ‘C’ General visa, and
(iii) have been granted leave to remain in the UK for up to 180 days,
(iv) travel to Ireland, within the time remaining on a current leave to remain in the UK, without the requirement to obtain an Irish visa, and
(v) be granted permission to remain in Ireland up to a maximum of 90 days or the time left on their UK leave to remain, whichever is the shorter.

Each distinct period of leave to remain in the UK (up to a maximum of 180 days each time) requires a prior legal entry into the UK before travel to Ireland under the Programme, no matter what the duration of the UK visa.

The following countries are now covered by the scheme: Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Montenegro, Oman, People’s Republic of China, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.

Nationals of the above states who are long-term residents of the UK or the Schengen area will not have to pay any visa fees.

The Schengen area countries states are the EU member states (other than the UK and Ireland) and Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. Citizens of Schengen area countries do not need a visa to enter Ireland but residents who are citizens of countries outside the EU/EEA may need one.

May 31, 2012

Voting in the Fiscal Treaty Referendum

Irish voters face an unenviable choice today. Accepting the EU fiscal compact will force member states to hit tough budget targets, which could mean further pain for Ireland.

But the fiscal compact will also guarantee access to the European Stability Mechanism, Europe's new bailout fund – a financial lifeline to countries who cannot borrow in the debt markets.

Opinion polls have suggested that the Irish electorate will vote YES to the treaty - but it's close and a lot could depend on turn-out! Traditionally anti-European voters are more inclined to get out and vote.

Four opinion polls released over the weekend indicated that around 60% of voters would back the treaty. But a significant number of people have been classed as 'don't knows' in the run-up to today's vote.In 2001 and 2008 the Irish voters defeated first the Nice and then later the Lisbon Treaties on EU reform.

Vote counting won't begin until 9am on Friday morning - and the result will be awaited by all of Europe and beyond ( result should be known by Friday evening )

The nightmare scenario for the government is that ther Irish people decide to give ministers a bloody nose by voting 'no' in the referendum.After four years of austerity measures, some anti-treaty campaigners are predicting the "revenge of the people".

Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein said "I ask Irish citizens not to be bullied, not to give their democratic rights away, not to give up their say over Irish economic policy and not to write austerity into the Constitution."

May 30, 2012

More Companies Choose Ireland for Eu HQ

Four companies are to create 100 jobs in Cork and Dublin a
Games developer Red 5 Studios, human capital management consultancy and technology services firm Aasonn, Van Tibolli Beauty and research firm Qualvu are establishing their European headquarters in the State, bringing new jobs with them.
Red 5 Studios, which is to set up in Cork, will create 30 jobs, recruiting for community management, localisation, and player support teams.
“We needed a place in Europe that was accessible to all sorts of native speakers and all sorts of cultures,” said chief executive Mark Kern.
“Ireland has become this diverse Metropolitan area where people from France and Germany and all over Europe come together. That’s really great for us because we can’t be everywhere in Europe at once, but we can be in Ireland, and by being in Ireland we can tap into all the cultures and all the territories around very readily.”

Inflation Falls in Ireland April 2012

Irish inflation was lower in April 2012 - dropping from 2.2% in March to 1.9% in April
Overall consumer prices were largely unchanged in April, but on an annual basis certain sectors showed large increases, education costs increased by 9.4%, the cost of transport went up 5.7%, largely due to fuel price increases.

 Areas such as clothing ,footwear, furnishings, household equipment and maintenance, are still experiencing price falls . 
The  €100  household charge and the rise in health insurance premiums were the main  factors driving up the cost of miscellaneous goods and services.

On a monthly basis, the cost of miscellaneous goods and services rose 1.3% while food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 0.5%. Over the same period there was a 0.9% fall in the cost of alcoholic beverages and tobacco and a 0.7% fall in transport prices. The monthly decline in transport costs was driven by a 15.1% fall in airline passenger costs.

There was a fall in the cost of games, toys, and hobbies but a rise in the cost of package holidays.

Rents in the private sector declined by 0.9% between March and April but were up 2.4% over 12 months. Local authority rents were unchanged between March and April but are down 3.3% for the year.

May 28, 2012

More Jobs at Amazon in Dublin

Irish Jobs Minister Richard Bruton today welcomed the announcement by Amazon that it is to create over 100 new technology jobs at its Development Centre in Kilmainham, Dublin. The centre is home to a team of engineers and developers  - the new jobs will include support engineers, systems engineers, network engineers, software developers and technical managers.

Amazon set up its Development Centre in Ireland in 2005 and now has hundreds employed at the Development Centre. The decision by Amazon to expand the technology centre illustrates Ireland’s ability to attract high-calibre Foreign Direct Investment and represents a key endorsement by one of the world’s leading companies.

May 9, 2012

Most Popular Cars in Ireland 2012

List of the numbers of  new cars registered in Ireland from Jan to April 2012

Volkswagen were the most popular make of car followed by Ford and Nissan
Audi were in 4th place followed by Renault. The least popular makes of new car were Chevrolet , Subaru, Mitsubishi , Lexus and Suzuki


Ford 1,277
Toyota 1,119
Nissan 970
Audi 893
Renault 887
Hyundai 806
BMW 659
Skoda 628
Opel 596
Peugeot 366
Kia 331
Citroen 288
Seat 288
Other 282
Mercedes-Benz 247
Honda 239
Volvo 225
Vauxhall 223
Mazda 159
Fiat 146
Suzuki 73
Lexus 34
Mitsubishi 25
Subaru 19
Chevrolet 7

Cost of Childcare in Ireland

A survey of childcare providers all over Ireland in 2011  found that the price of childcare can vary quite a lot.

The average cost of childcare for 3 full days a week for a 6 month old was €126 per week
Prices varied from a high of €190 a week  in Dublin 6  to a low of €85  in the Waterford area.

Even within the same area there was big variations in pricing - Dublin 6  showed a difference of €70 a week between the lowest and highest price.

Comparing the cost of childcare for 5 days a week for a 28 month old child:

The overall average price across the country for full time 5 days a week childcare   was €181 per week.
The highest price was  €248 in Dublin  city centre . The lowest price for full time childcare was €130 in Dundalk

Discounts may be offered for  childcare for two siblings attending the same childcare facility .  The discounts offered varied from a nominal fixed sum discount to a percentage discount. The survey found that on average a discount of 7% was offered. With a discount of up to 12% on the combined fee for both children was offered in ons case - so it's worth asking .

Of course price is only one of the relevant factors considered by parents  when choosing a childcare facility. Other considerations may include issues such as location, staff qualifications, the curriculum followed, play amenities, opening hours etc.

May 4, 2012

Average House Prices in Ireland April 2012

House Prices In Ireland  fell further in the year to the end of March 2012 .
According to the Central Statistics Office, house prices fell by an average of 16.3 per cent on an annual basis in March  compared with 17.8 per cent annual drop at the end  of February.
However, on a monthly basis, there was no change compared with February. The last time there was a halt in monthly price declines was August 2010.

In Dublin, overall property prices were 0.7 per cent higher in March compared with February , but remained 18.3 per cent lower than in March 2011. House prices in the capital were 18.4 per cent lower compared to a year earlier, and showed a 0.7 per cent rise month on month. Prices for apartments were 18.9 per cent lower over the year.
Overall, property prices in the capital have fallen 57 per cent from their peak level in early 2007.
Apartments have declined  by 61 per cent, while house prices have lost 55 per cent of their value.
In the rest of the country, residential property prices were 0.6 per cent lower last month, and 15.5 per cent lower over the year. Since the peak of the property market, home prices have fallen by 45 per cent.

Average Property Asking Prices In Ireland - March 2012

1 bed 2 bed  3 bed   4 bed    5 bed
Carlow €89 €123 €148 €239 €288
Cavan €59 €89 €136 €187 €237
Clare €101 €147 €223 €283
Co. Cork €104 €132 €162 €247 €316
Co. Galway €125 €162 €202 €242
Co. Limerick €75 €105 €152 €242 €277
Co. Waterford €101 €179 €259 €305
Cork City €117 €145 €189 €285 €360
Donegal €72 €82 €130 €184 €215
Dublin City Centre €111 €200 €225 na na
Dublin North City €135 €174 €234 €381 €519
Dublin South City €137 €200 €248 €442 €555
Galway City €114 €163 €182 €261 €359
Kerry €93 €127 €176 €237 €287
Kildare €75 €139 €191 €287 €375
Kilkenny €78 €104 €153 €214 €291
Laois €69 €78 €113 €177 €275
Leitrim €70 €117 €181 €160
Limerick City €83 €119 €166 €246 €264
Longford €78 €115 €166 €191
Louth €66 €105 €150 €240 €319
Mayo €86 €111 €139 €195 €227
Meath €116 €127 €171 €271 €371
Monaghan €65 €160 €218 €275
North County Dublin €143 €179 €216 €391 €558
Offaly €84 €109 €131 €194 €283
Roscommon €61 €75 €118 €160 €193
Sligo €70 €101 €132 €193 €225
South County Dublin €189 €256 €342 €548 €673
Tipperary €74 €110 €143 €218 €264
Waterford City €60 €88 €132 €195 €223
West County Dublin €102 €141 €196 €281 €408
Westmeath €100 €105 €137 €195 €240
Wexford €93 €99 €143 €200 €260
Wicklow €143 €187 €213 €325 €465

Irish House Prices  From 2011 Here

Apr 26, 2012

Septic Tank Registration

The latest charge for about 500,000 householders in Ireland is a registration fee for their septic tanks.
All on site waste water treatment systems and septic tanks have to be registered so they can be inspected if required.
The fee is a measly €5 - if you register in the first 3 months  . After that the charge for registration rises to €50.
Registration  started on  June 26th. You needed to register before Sept 28th  2012 to save €45 on the fee.

  All home owners with  on site waste water treatment systems or septic tanks need to register at  before 1st Feb 2013.

Non registration could lead to  homeowners being fined up to €5000 Euro.

More details about  Septic Tank Registration Here

Information about grants for septic tanks

Apr 25, 2012

Buying a House at an Auction in Ireland

Buying a house by  auction is becoming more common as the property market struggles to recover.

Auction properties are not sold 'subject to finance' or 'subject to survey', but are sold unconditionally. If your bid is accepted, you are legally obliged to buy.

Before the auction,
Get a list of auction properties and identify the lots which suit you. Check whether they come with vacant possession, tenants or other special conditions.
Commission a  survey to ensure the property is structurally sound.
Get your solicitor to ensure there are no legal problems with the title or peculiar conditions that could affect the property, including right-of-way or access issues.
Have all your finances in order, with formal approval from your lender.

At the Auction

Set a  limit for what you will spend and stick to it
Bring a chequebook, details of your solicitor, a valid form of identification such as a passport or a driving licence, and proof of address, including a utility bill or bank statement.

If your bid is accepted at an auction, you are legally bound to buy the property.

Following a successful bid, complete a purchaser's slip; give a 10pc deposit cheque, identification and your solicitor's details.
After completing the purchaser's slip, approach the contracts desk and sign the Memorandum of Sale. don't leave the auction without your signed Memorandum of Sale.
Completion of sale takes place about five weeks after the auction date.

If the property you are interested in does not sell, register your highest bid before leaving, as many lots are sold 'off the floor' after the auction.

Apr 13, 2012

Cost of Living in Ireland - Inflation Now at 2.2%

It was big fuel price rises that helped increase the cost of living  in Ireland by 1% in March 2012.
The  Irish Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up 1 per cent in March, pushing the annual rate of inflation back up to 2.2 per cent.
Petrol prices in Ireland rose 3.3 per cent in March 2012 - and they have risen by 9 per cent in the  last year.  Diesel prices  were  up 1.8 per cent monthly and 9.2 per cent over the year.
There were also increases in  health insurance premiums,  clothing and footwear

The Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), ( that excludes the cost of mortgage interest)  also rose 1 per cent in March, taking the annual rate to 2.2 per cent.
The rate of inflation in Ireland  has been one of the lowest in the euro zone.

Online Shopping in Ireland

Ireland - being a small country - has tended to lag behind the UK and other countries when it comes to doing shopping online.  The potential customer base might not have seemed attractive to some of the online retailers - and the access to good internet was not as widespread as it is now.

In Ireland -  there are about 1.74 million people who are classed as rural dwellers  - these people would benefit most from internet and online shopping .
According to the Central Statistics Office, 43 per cent of Irish adults bought something online from a shopping site in 2011 - , up from 36 per cent in 2010. Ireland  is now in line with the EU average for online shopping but is still a long way behind the UK, where 71 per cent of adults shopped online last year.

Most of the major UK based retailers will now deliver to Ireland - but a few years ago that was not the case. Delivery charges are gradually coming down and the numbers of sites offering online shopping to Ireland is increasing

More information about Online Shopping Sites in  Ireland

This is a good site for finding online shops that deliver to Ireland   Online Shopping Ireland

Numbers of People Moving to Ireland

Immigration Figures for Ireland 2006 to 2011

These are the numbers of people moving to Ireland each  year since 2006 broken down by country or area of origin. (Numbers show are Thousands)

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Irish 18.9 20 16.2 18.4 13.3 17.1
UK 9.9 5.9 7 4.4 2.4 2.6
Rest of EU152 12.7 10.4 8.6 8.6 4.3 5.8
EU123 49.9 52.7 33.7 13.5 5.8 9
USA 1.7 2.8 2 1.1 0.3 0.3
Rest of world 14.7 17.8 16.3 11.3 4.6 7.6
Total 107.8 109.5 83.8 57.3 30.8 42.3

So - whilst the numbers moving to Ireland have dropped since 2007 - there were still over 42000 people who came to live in Ireland from abroad in 2011.

Polish People in Ireland

According to figures from the 2011 Census there are 115,193 Polish-born people living in Ireland
This is an increase of  almost 94 per cent  from 2006.
Overall there were 766,770 people living in Ireland in 2011 who were not born here - an increase of  25% since 2006.  The increase in the number of Polish people in Ireland means that there are now more Polish nationals living here than UK citizens.

Apr 7, 2012

Removals To and From Ireland

Moving furniture and household items from the UK to Ireland (or the other way)  can be costly.
For smaller moves - single people or couples - you could try using a "Man and Van "type service.
Prices for a full load on a large Transit type van  - with a driver can range from €600 to €900 . If the driver has a load to pick up on the other side - it will reduce the price . So it helps if  you are  flexible on dates so the driver can arrange trips when there is a load going both ways .

You could hire a van and do it yourself : - Van hire (Ford Transit 350)  with insurance etc can cost around €50 a day . You will probably need to hire it for 3 days minimum and when you add in ferry costs and fuel you won't get much change out of €600 .
You can hire Vans in the UK from Europcar or Budget or Hertz
Large removals will require the services of a proper removal company -  with prices depending on the size of your load. Expect to pay in the region of £1200 to £1500 or more for an average sized house.
Prices are cheaper if you do your own packing and dismantling.  Make sure the company provides insurance.

Feb 22, 2012

American Companies Moving to Ireland

American companies were were behind almost 40 percent of offices bought or leased in Dublin in 2011 and the trend is looking like inreasing in 2012

Paypal have just announced a new office in Dundalk - with 1000 staff and  Google , Salesforce and Yelp are looking for extra space in Dublin . Facebook is also seeking to more than double the size of its European headquarters in Dublin.

The financial crisis in  Ireland  drove down commercial property rents as well as lwages - making Ireland a much more cost-competitive destination .

Bill Clinton said that  Real estate in Ireland is "a steal"

A corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent is a vital part of the attraction for U.S. companies and new tax breaks are being offered to overseas workers who relocate to Ireland as the government seeks to attract more U.S. investment.

Google has 2,200 employees in Dublin  with an increase to over 3,000 expected.
LinkedIn, leased space in 2011 and has increased the number of employees to about 175 from 30 since last year, O'Leary said.

Facebook is seeking to more than double the size of its European headquarters in Dublin ahead of its $5 billion initial public offering and is considering leasing the former Bank of Ireland headquarters building. More than 350 people work at its Dublin office.

Jan 17, 2012

Household Charge - a new Property Tax for Ireland

There has been no tax on residential property in Ireland for many years - but 2012 has seen the introduction of a Household Charge. This is a €100 euro a year tax on homes - which is just a temporary measure whilst a full property tax system is worked out and implemented.

Read more about the Household Charge in Ireland here.

The Household Charge is a self registration system - in fact one of the reasons for the introduction of the new charge  - is to help the government put together a database of home owners in Ireland.