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Last updated : Nov 2009
Ireland Business
Ireland Business Overview - TravelPuppy.com
Ireland Economy

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 early 2003.

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

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 New Year.

Commercial Information

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: info@chambersireland.ie)

Conferences and Conventions

For additional information, contact:

Convention Bureau of Ireland, Bord Fáilte, Baggot Street Bridge, Dublin 2 (telephone: (1) 602 4000; fax: (1) 602 4336; e-mail: cbi@bordfailte.ie)