Ireland’s recent economic history is now being characterised
by the cliché of the ‘Celtic Tiger’.
Propelled by EU membership and effective investment
promotion policies, the economy has been transformed over a period
of two decades from a European backwater into the fastest
growing economy in the EU.
Ireland had not been industrialised to the degree as the rest of
Europe, and only recently has agriculture been
overtaken as the biggest single contributor to the national product.
It remains a key sector, and the Government is looking to consolidate
its role within the economy by modernisation and expansion of food-processing
industries. Dairy and beef dominate the sector, but there
is also large-scale production of potatoes, wheat and barley. Ireland’s
recent industrial development success has been achieved by a deliberate
policy of promoting export-led and advanced technology businesses,
in part by offering attractive packages for foreign investors.
Chemicals, textiles and electronics have performed
particularly strongly. Most of Ireland’s economic development
in the past ten years, however, was in the service sector. Finance
and banking have grown to the extent that Dublin now supports a
large International Financial Centre, and tourism
has become a substantial foreign exchange earner.
The statistics of Ireland’s remarkable growth and development
are average GDP growth between 7 and 10 per cent
since the mid-1990s, while inflation and unemployment were kept
below 5 per cent, despite a slowdown in growth between 2001 and
Ireland joined the European Monetary Union (EMU)
with the majority of EU members in the first wave in 1999, despite
some concern about the consequences of Britain’s non-membership.
Trade with the UK, which accounts for
30 per cent of total imports and takes 20 per cent of Ireland’s
exports, remains important but the proportion is gradually declining
as other EU countries assume greater significance.
Business people should wear formal attire for meetings. Local people
are very friendly and an informal business approach is perhaps the
most successful. It is advisable to make prior appointments and
to allow enough time to complete your business. Avoid business meetings
in the first week of May, during July, August and at Christmas or
The following organisation can offer additional information:
Chambers of Commerce of Ireland, 17 Merrion Square, Dublin
2 (telephone: (1) 661 2888; fax: (1) 661 2811; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Conferences and Conventions
For additional information, contact:
Bureau of Ireland, Bord Fáilte, Baggot Street Bridge,
Dublin 2 (telephone: (1) 602 4000; fax: (1) 602 4336; e-mail: email@example.com)