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 Protectourwater.ie 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.