Is Ireland a good place to live?

Discussion in 'Letting Off Steam' started by delgirl, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. delgirl

    delgirl Frequent Poster

    I've seen a few threads in which daltonr expresses the desire to leave Ireland and ClubMan expresses his good wishes...
    ... and was wondering if anyone else thinks the same way or do you think Ireland is a good place to live?
  2. car

    car Frequent Poster

    Irelands a great place to live in. Sure, where else would you live?

    What are the basics that people want? a job, a home, a family, holidays, friends, security, a laugh now and again. No matter where you go in the world, the same applies. You can find it all here if you want, so what distinguishes one place from another is how hard you have to look to find what youre looking for.
  3. Vanilla

    Vanilla Frequent Poster

    We don't have the best weather, though.
  4. daltonr

    daltonr Guest

    I think Ireland has a lot going for it. You don't have to look too far to see far worse places where you could have been unlucky enough to be born.

    Some things that are uniquely Irish are very special indeed. Hurling for example. The GAA kind, not the up against the wall of the pub kind, although both seem uniquely Irish.

    I really think hurling is a very under marketed sport in international terms. The number one item on every tourists mind visiting Ireland should be so see a hurling match in Croke Park, not to drink a pint of Guinness or find Bono's house. I've yet to find a sport in any other country that matched it.

    There are a lot of myths about Ireland and the Irish though, and they should be dismissed.

    Ireland is not a uniquely friendly and welcoming country or people. You will find as much or more of a welcome in many countries and friendliness in our Service Industry staff (Hotels, Restaurants especially) is unusual enough that it's worth commenting on when we see it. There are many very friendly people in Ireland. I'm just saying it's nothing special compared to other countries.

    Ireland is not a uniquely beautifull country. Ireland's best scenery is beautiful, but still can't touch some of the sights you'll find around the world. What's more important is the beauty of our cities and rural areas in general. Tidy TOwns do a great job, but our cities in general are filthy. It needs to be said.

    In london there's a shortage of Rubbish bins thanks to the actions of a couple of Irish nutters in the 70's and 80's. And yet despite this it's a much cleaner city than Dublin.

    Ireland is not a low tax economy. Despite all you'll hear from government it just isn't. When people on low income pay tax at the top rate of 42%, when employers pay a further 10% (that's 10% that they factor in when deciding your salary, so you really are paying it), and when you look at indirect taxes like VAT, VRT, Stamp Duty, etc, etc, etc. There is no credible argument to be made that Ireland is low tax for the citizen.

    Great for companies though. So Ireland is a good country to own a business in.
    Just not a great place to live.

    High tax would be fine if it was getting you high quality services like Health and Education. Nuff said here. Education is good in Ireland despite government not because of it. As the Rat I stepped on in Secondary school will confirm.

    Ireland is expensive. A lot of this has to do with the taxes, but at the end of the day it hits you in the pocket day in day out. When you look at the kind of house that 400K will buy you in Ireland, and compare it with what it'll buy you abroad, you begin to see that to live here you really have to compromise in terms of where you'll live.
    For many that compromise involves up to 3 hours commuting a day.

    Ireland has very poor facilities for Children, young adults in particular. When they do the inevitable of hanging around in groups with nothing better to do they are demonised not just by locals but by the very political leaders that fail them.

    I could go on and on and on here.

    I could talk about Tax incentives for property investors during a property boom.
    I could talk about the high taxes on motoring to be topped up with tolls.
    I could talk about the drink culture.
    I could talk about the asylum seekers who are allowed to stay for years, and are then
    swept up and night and kicked out.
    I could talk about Ireland being the 2nd most unequal (in economic terms) country in the world, beaten only by America.

    You get the picture.

    Ireland is an OK place to live, nothing special. The boom has been wasted in an effort to make the economy good while ignoring the society. The question shouldn't be is Ireland a good place to live. The question is how good could it be?

    It could be great. It won't be as long as we get the kind of leadership we have over the past 15 years.

  5. MissRibena

    MissRibena Frequent Poster

    And if you get sick and aren't loaded, you will be on a trolley forever and a day.

    My main gripe is that there is such a waste of potential in this country. We have the money and other resources needed to have the best public services possible. We even have the benefit of being a bit of a late developer and could learn from other countries' mistakes. But it just never happens and it's very frustrating to watch it all slip by.

    That said, I can block out a lot of the frustrations and apart from the odd yearning to live in Germany or Austria when I visit, I wouldn't move. My family and friends are here and I love the space, wildlife, countryside/landscape and I even like the weather.

    Mind you, if we didn't have cheap flights and the internet, I probably would have left years ago. I believe both of those have helped make the island feel a lot less isolated and insular.

  6. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

    So which is it then?
  7. z107

    z107 Guest

    cheap flights

    These aren't going to last forever. Unless new technology is developed pretty quickly, cheap flights will become a thing of the past. (Rising oil prices)
  8. ubiquitous

    ubiquitous Frequent Poster

    Practically every one of the complaints listed above by daltonr also apply equally to Britain. I think it is naive to assume that the problems we face are uniquely Irish problems.
  9. daltonr

    daltonr Guest

    Are you serious? You need this explained?

    Ireland has a lot going for it.
    It's an OK place to live, not great.
    It is a good country to own a business in.

    I can't explain it any more plainly than that.

    ubiquitous. I agree the problems aren't uniquely Irish. I wouldn't ever claim they were. Ireland and the UK are very similar. Although comparing Dublin with London I'm afraid London would win (for me anyway). It has it's own problems, but the fact is you can live in the suburbs of London without a Car. In fact you can live in Brighton and work in London without a car.

    Yes houses are expensive, but that's justified, you should pay more to live in a better place.

    Yes traffic can be bad, but so what, take the tube or the bus.

    Yes the British Government is as guilty as ours of wasting money and providing poor public services. But I think it's fair to say their health system is better than ours. And from a comparison I made with a similar aged, similar salaried person living in England they pay slightly lower tax.

    Their lower taxes really show through when compared with irish indirect taxes.

    The sheer range of things to do in London compared to Dublin is a factor to consider. That's to be expected it's a much bigger city.

    Here's a simple test. A person lands in Heathrow with no-one to collect them and show them the town, and a person lands in Dublin. Who is more likely to have the easier time, who is more likely to find something that appeals to their taste to entertain them? In short, who is likely to have the better time? I'd have to say London would win hands down.

  10. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

    Yes - because it seems quite contradictory to me. I don't see how it (a) having a lot going for it and (b) not being a great place to live/being an OK place to live/nothing special are consistent.
  11. delgirl

    delgirl Frequent Poster

    I've lived in 9 countries over a period of 20 years and, although neither my husband or myself are from the Republic of Ireland, we have chosen to make our permanent family home here.

    It's easy to say after a good holiday - I'd love to live there - but all too often the reality is very different.

    I agree with Vanilla, the weather here is a sore point and with daltonr and Rebecca that taxation is high and the services on offer are poor compared to those in other countries. We came from a country where the salaries were very high and tax free, the accommodation, electricity, telephone line & local calls, food, laundry, private health care etc. were all free and the Irish taxation system was, quite frankly, a bit of a shock. But life there was restrictive, controlled, temperatures in the summer rose to 50 degrees C and we prayed for rain for weeks on end to no avail.

    But I suppose the thing we value here most of all is freedom. Freedom to live the way we want, to eat what we want, to dress the way we choose and, most important of all, freedom of speech and expression.

    Of all the countries we've lived in the best country by far was Singapore. Extremely well organised, good healthcare system, clean, safe, warm all year round, etc.

    daltonr's question is very valid. Ireland is a good country to live in, but could be an even better country. It's a shame that more people don't protest and complain and campaign harder and louder for better services.
  12. ClubMan

    ClubMan Frequent Poster

    Surely the corollary is that it could be even worse?
  13. daltonr

    daltonr Guest

    Oh sweet divine!!!!

    Here's one example:
    (something going for it)
    Ireland has a great economy.

    (ok, but not great to live in).
    That hasn't been translated into a great society

    I'm going to have to leave this here. Short of drawing pictures I don't know how I can explain this further.

  14. stuart

    stuart Frequent Poster

    It would be a better place if Clubman and DaltonR could "face each other with pistols at dawn" and get it out of their system

    Delgirl, 9 countries in 20 years, congrats
    I was happy with Ireland and 2 others in the past 5 but not anymore

    IMO, Ireland for all its short comings is a good place to live
    If can accept the weather and the fact that we are a small country, no matter how the economy has grown in the past 10 years

    The division between rich and poor is growing but still nowhere near other countries, I would rather be unemployed in Ireland than our nearest neighbour or most other european countries for that matter
    There is a reason that asylum seekers seem to prefer to come to Ireland

    We may not have the greatest healthcare system also and having to pay for it is crappy but you will never be thrown out of a Dublin hospital in an emergency case for not having insurance

    We have immigration, surely that points to there being something about living here that must be appealing to others

    The cost of living is nowhere near as high as people like to complain about
    I lived in a country where a good wage for a national was about €800-900 per month and the cost of living apart from housng was not much less than here

    People waste vast amounts in this country, whether it be food or money and seem to appreciate it less

    That is the only real complaint I would have about this country, sometimes we do not appreciate what we do have and do not seem to respect effort by others

    I agree with DaltonR about London, lived there for 2 years and nearly went back rather than coming back to Ireland but couldn't think about having kids there (they'd be British after all)
    PS Weather is grear at the moment and very few people die of huricanes or flash floods or thunder storms or Tsunamis here, sometimes middle of the road is not bad
  15. delgirl

    delgirl Frequent Poster

    The inference is that it could be worse, like Kuwait (restrictive, controlled, hot, 'dry', etc.) and it could be better, like Singapore (organised, clean, safe, good healthcare, tough on crime etc.).

    Singapore has both better services and lower taxes and among the highest living standards in the world. Something to think about and perhaps aspire to?

    Don't know what your family situation is daltonr, but if you're able to, go and experience life in another country. It'll work both ways to fulfill your need to see how things are on the other side and to perhaps enable you to appreciate what you have here. Also. I think ClubMan's got it in for you so you might as well pack your bags....

  16. daltonr

    daltonr Guest

    >Singapore has both better services and lower taxes and among the highest living >standards in the world. Something to think about and perhaps aspire to?

    I'll be getting a first hand look next month all going to plan. Can't wait.

    > if you're able to, go and experience life in another country. It'll work both ways to > fulfill your need to see how things are on the other side and to perhaps enable
    > you to appreciate what you have here.

    I've been very lucky in that regard, not as lucky as you by the sound of things, but enough to get more than a taste. I do appreciate certain aspects of Ireland, but they get fewer and further between as time goes by.

    I don't have a need to see how things are done. I've seen that. Some of it impressed me, some of it didn't. I'm not going to tell you that I like America's policies on Civil Rights, Gun Control, Foreign Policy. I'm not going to tell you that Frances high tax rates are sustainable for much longer, but at least they seem to get value for money.

    Incidently Singapore can thank a dictator for a lot of it's success. Something to think about there perhaps. Although Ireland did have a leader with a similar fettish for getting the public to save. But we shipped him off to Europe.

    Perhaps that's my problem I don't know. I don't think I like the kind of country where my quality if life consideration is based on what life would be like if I was unemployed. I'm not unemployed. I worked hard to not be unemployed.
    I have no intention of ever being unemployed.

    I can't look at Ireland and say....High Tax, poor public services, poor infrastructure., detached arrogant unaccountable government. But ... If I ever end up on the scrap heap, it's a slightly nicer scrap heap than the one in Britain.

    My bottom line is that I treat citizenship like any other commodity. Not very patriotic I know, but there you go. I look at what you get, I look at what you pay. What you get includes, lifestyle, weather, entertainment options, family, friends, culture, etc. etc.

    Where you are born and raised has a big advantage over other countries. Your family, friends and roots are all here. A competing country has to beat yours in the remaining areas. Some people never shop around. Some do and don't find anything sufficiently better. Some get it together and leave.

  17. DrMoriarty

    DrMoriarty Moderator

    I was living & working in Paris — and on much better money than I'd have earned at home - back in the late 80s. My wife was expecting our first at the time, and the social benefits were pouring through the letterbox from the 3rd month of pregnancy on. Plus all our healthcare was 100% refunded under the social insurance (admittedly deducted at a much higher % than the then-prevailing PRSI rates in Ireland) But you got a helluva lot more back in return for that. I'd compare it to having medical cards for everyone earning under €80K p.a. (what's the threshold here - €227/week combined income..?) And free creches from the age of two.

    For personal/family reasons, we nonetheless decided to come home to raise d'family. 'Some things money can't buy', etc...:rolleyes:

    Now, 16 years on, we've five kids, and - Child Benefit apart - we get absolutely no breaks over & above what a childless couple would. No tax relief on childcare costs. Individualised tax bands. And so on, and so on... I know that CB rates have improved a lot here in the meantime, but that's only because of externally-imposed EU harmonisation, not because of any Irish government's 'generosity'. I still remember the shock - back then - of moving from a system that gave us about £200+/month for an as-yet-unborn child to the largesse of Irish CB rates of (exactly!) £15.84/month, once she'd been born. It didn't even cover the cost of nappies...

    If we were living in France now, with five kids, we'd receive more in combined state benefits & tax breaks than a single worker on the minimum wage would earn (and the minimum wage is a lot higher in France than here).

    For all sorts of historical/socio-political reasons (including religious factors), Ireland today is one crappy deal - economically speaking - for people who choose to have more than 1.0 kids. Family-friendly, it ain't...

    (Readers of a certain political persuasion/family status may cut in here and ask why The State/The Taxpayer should subsidise the likes of me, 'filling up the world' with my nasty sprawling brood of sprogs. It's because they'll be paying for your pensions, of course...)

    And yet... and yet... I'm happy to stay put for the moment, if only not to uproot the kids at this stage in their lives. They're 'from' here (much more than myself, who moved around a lot as a kid). But as soon as they're all growed up, I'll be cutting my stick out of this place...

    ('though of course I'll be 'home for Christmas' as usual each year...:D )
  18. DrMoriarty

    DrMoriarty Moderator

    Forgot to add - the weather sucks. Big time. Just popped out for milk, and got drenched in the 'summer' rain... :mad:

    And we've a clatter of kids coming over for a 6th birthday party on Thursday. €185 for a feckin' bouncy castle for three hours? I'm telling yez, lads, we've lost the run of ourselves altogether..!
  19. casiopea

    casiopea Frequent Poster

    One thing I have to say, about Dublin specifically, is that it really is filthy. Eventhough I live abroad I come home to ireland approx 10 times a year and everytime Im home its dirtier and dirtier.

    My parents live in a lovely area of dublin, however every morning they get up someone has left a beer can or wrapper or bag on their wall or thrown over their front gate and someone has to go out and clean it up. Last week myself and my fiance were walking through ballsbridge and there were 2 girls in suits (Id guess in their late 20s) walking in front of us eating icecreams, both of them threw the wrappers on the ground. I couldnt get over it.

    My fiance is swiss and I never let him say a bad word about Ireland, however last week when he saw this he said "the problem with Ireland is that people dont respect the country, there is a feeling of each man for himself". While he still got a thump, I really feel he could be onto to something.

    Its nice to see that there are ads in the dart encouraging people not to litter (I think they say "its your dart" or something) and obviously there is the tidy towns but is that enough? The litter in the city is pratically at unhygenic levels.

  20. daltonr

    daltonr Guest

    There is that. It's not everyone. But it's enough people.
    You will routinely see McDonalds bags being thrown out the windows of Cars parked in the Car Park of McDonalds. The occupant can't be bothered walking 10 Feet to a rubbish bin.

    But then there's the other side. Take a trip to the Dart Station in Blackrock. Have a look at the Car Park. It's defintiely not cleaned regularly if ever.

    If something looks like a Dump it will be used as one. It's a fact that if something is clean that in itself acts as a deterrant to those who might litter.

    My solution to Littering is very simple. If you are caught littering, you are forced to wear a bright Pink Jumpsuit and spend 1 weekend (8 hours saturday, 8 hours Sunday)collecting rubbish. 2nd Offence, two weekends. 3rd Offence 4 Weekends, 4th offence 8 Weekends and so on.

    Litter Wardens should be in plain clothes so there's no way of knowing if one is watching you. Although it would be fish in a barrel outside Fast Food Restaurants and Newsagents.