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What should I know about the political and socio-economic landscape in Ireland?

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Author: Becca McDonald, eCommerce Worldwide

 

The Republic has a largely ceremonial president as head of state, an elected parliament, with the government being led by the Taoiseach (prime minister).

The government is often dominated by either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. There have been a number of instances where a coalition government is required and this has usually involved the Labour Party. In recent years Sinn Féin has again seen increased support.

 

A cabinet of 15 ministers steer the executive power of the government. Legislative power is retained by the parliament while the independent judiciary oversees the legal system. The judiciary is headed by the chief justice who presides over the Supreme Court.

 

The Republic’s economy was hit particularly hard by the global recession of 2008 and the ensuing ‘Eurozone crisis’. Having been referred to as the ‘Celtic Tiger’ during the first decade of the new millennium, the economy became too heavily dependent on private and commercial property markets.

 

Political and Socioeconomic Landscape in Ireland

 

The global financial crisis hit values of these assets and the high level of government debt couldn’t be supported with slower economic activity. As a result, the Republic was one of the first countries to work with the EU / IMF on a €85bn bailout. The country is also the first to come out of this arrangement and the economy is growing once more.

 

One of the reasons for its success is the attractiveness to international investors, mainly due to its tax regime and the ease of doing business. There is increasing pressure on the government to amend some of these measures so as to ‘level the playing field’ with their European colleagues.

 

A recent change in US legislation will also have an impact. Reverse take-overs, whereby big companies buy smaller companies in countries with more favourable taxation laws and then move their headquarters to take advantage of these rules have been curbed.

 

Even with a considerably smaller population than other trading partners, Irish consumers still comprise the UK's fifth largest export market generating over €1 billion of business, a figure that grows increasingly due to the growth of online shopping. It is still too early to know the impact Brexit will have on the relationship between the UK and Ireland but it may be that trade will be tied up with red tape at the very time the European Commission is trying to ease cross-border trade with the construction of the Single Digital Market.1

 

 

1 - Post & Parcel Article

 

For more information, please consult our Ireland ‘passport’ trading guide.

 

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