Doing business

Current business situation

The Republic of Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU) and is subject to EU trade regulations.

Australia and Ireland have a number of bilateral agreements covering areas such as:

  • taxation
  • social security
  • medical treatment for travellers
  • working holidays for young people.

Despite an unprecedented period of growth between 2000 and 2007, the 2008 global financial crisis significantly impacted the Irish economy. This resulted in a financial stablisation package from the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2010 which ended in 2013.

The Irish Government has since released A Strategy for Growth: Medium Term Economic Strategy (MTES) 2014-2020 which sets economic targets and aims for higher economic growth and a reduction in unemployment and national debt levels.

While there are still challenges, opportunities for trade exist. Ireland has made the transition from an agriculture based economy to more trade and services based and is a significant exporter of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and software-related goods.

In terms of manufacturing and services, the government is encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country, reiterating the message that Ireland has a relatively young, well-educated workforce and an attractive corporate tax rate.

Business culture

The official languages are Irish and English.

The business culture in Ireland is similar to elsewhere in Europe, with a preference for open dialogue and less rigid formality. Most business people in traditional industries will wear business suits and men will also wear ties. Relationships and family are very important to the Irish.

Irish companies will rarely agree to ‘cold’ meetings. Expect to introduce your company and proposition at least three to four weeks before the planned meeting date. Make an introductory phone call and follow-up with information by email, fax or post.

In general, gift giving is not expected for business purposes.

It important to keep in mind that Ireland and Northern Ireland are separate countries and political entities.

Setting up in Ireland

Enterprise Ireland can assist with information on setting up a business in Ireland.

The Business Access to State Information and Services website also provides information on requirements to form a company and register it for tax purposes.

Banking and finance

Ireland has a well-developed banking and finance sector. The market for the provision of financial services within Ireland includes two large banking groups, Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland. However there is competition from other domestic and major international banking institutions.

Links and resources

Government, business and trade

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Department of Foreign Affairs - Ireland
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Enterprise Ireland
European Union Customs
Government of Ireland
IDA Ireland
National Standards (NSAI)
The Office of the Revenue Commissioners

News and media

The Daily Business Post
Irish Examiner
Irish Independent
Irish News
Irish Times

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.