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Working in Ireland?

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Benoit Julien

Living in Ireland, from France

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Ireland at a Glance

Ireland’s Business Culture

Working in Ireland has been a must for many foreigners since the era of the “Celtic Tiger”. While the nation has severely felt the effects of the recession, there are still some possibilities for expats. Read more about the economy and business culture on InterNations!

Ireland’s Social Security System

So you have overcome the difficulties that await prospective expats in Ireland at the moment? Congratulations! Having gone through the process of finding a job in Ireland does not only reward you with invaluable working experience in a great setting: It will also provide you with a fairly extensive social security system. The services and support measures the system provides are divided into three categories.

Ireland has social security agreements with many expat “sender countries” such as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the US. (EU citizens have their social insurance contributions and benefits secured by European law. They need not worry in any case.) The bi-lateral social security agreements with said countries are especially important for securing expats’ access to state pensions, survivors’ pensions, and disability benefits. For more information, please talk to your social security office back home and/or the Irish Department of Social Protection.

How to Avoid Business Faux Pas

Business in Ireland is done in very much the same manner as in other West European and North American societies. The degree of globalization in the country is surely at least partly responsible for this. Due to the scale of the Irish Diaspora, chances are that many of you have had some contact to Irish people before. It is notoriously difficult to break the good spirits of the Irish by mistake: They usually have a great sense of humor, but some general rules should still be adhered to.

Clichés and Manners

First and foremost, the Irish are aware of – and not particularly amused by – the clichés through which they are often portrayed in the media. US American movies in particular often include an Irish person of sunny disposition and with an indestructible liver. Although alcohol is indeed popular in Ireland, thinking of the Irish as a nation of drunkards is not only far from the truth: It could also be quite offensive, even when uttered jokingly.

Bragging is another mannerism that is highly unpopular with the Irish. Arrogance and exaggeration of your own grandeur might not necessarily get you into trouble, but they will probably discredit you to some extent.

Small Talk

In Ireland it is a particularly good idea to keep religion out of small talk and business conversation. Many people in Ireland are religious (often staunchly Catholic) or have socially conservative values, so try to steer clear of potentially controversial topics such as abortion or homosexuality.

Once you get better acquainted or have become close friends with an Irish person, do not be alarmed if you are suddenly made fun of or attacked verbally. This is quite common among the Irish and a signal of a strong bond, strong enough to withstand the cruelest of jokes. You should reciprocate in a cheerful (and equally nonchalant) way. Do not take any of this personally or lose your good spirits.

InterNations Expat Magazine