Moving to Ireland

I moved to Ireland a few years ago, and am generally finding it a very pleasant country.


Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account here requires not only proof of identity, such as a passport, but also proof of address, such as an electricity bill... which of course you don't have for the first month or so. It probably makes sense to arrange to be paid into a bank account of a previous country of your residence, or in cash, to start with. (I think this is a standard bureaucratic obstruction throughout the countries in the EU.)

I don't even see that ``proof of address' is seriously going to slow down anyone who wants to launder money. It would be easy enough to come by such proof within a month or so (so long as one is not honest); and probably easier than getting fake acceptable identity such as a passport. It may, however, be meant against identity theft (although that's not what they tell you it's for). Or perhaps it's really a measure against members of the travelling community, who have no address?

Telephone service

The default provider (old monopoly, I think) is called Eircom. Their overseas call charges are very high, and there are alternative carriers such as TalkTalk, who use the same local loop, who will do a much better price. If you do this, you'll get lots of marketing calls from Eircom to try to get you to switch back; so if you can avoid Eircom altogether and get an alternative local loop, so much the better (unless of course you actually like being disturbed by people ringing to sell you something that no existing users will recommend). They also continue to call you after you ask to be put on their stop list; the Communications Regulator is called Comreg and can be called on 1890-229-668. (Now that I have asked them for Comreg's number, maybe they'll stop. I'll report on that here.)

I'm not sure what to recommend instead. One of their rivals, BT Ireland has had a complaint site,, written about it because of their billing system. If you want broadband and/or cable TV as well, you could go with one of those carriers if they're available in your area, and perhaps use Voice Over IP (VOIP) such as Skype. (Note: Skype is not Open-Source, and there's no way of being sure that it's not leaking your personal information, although I haven't heard of any claims that it actually is.)

I've been very satisfied with Vodafone Ireland (apart from that their contractors have made a mess of our belfry with their transmitter installation -- we nearly wrote to them with ``Could it be that Vodafone have succeeded where Cromwell and the Vikings failed?''), but they're not economical for calling overseas.

Follow-up to the above note: despite having been asked not to call me, they've called me yet again (2006-02-10, 12:15). I asked to be put through to the caller's manager, who claimed I was on their stop list and it ``must have slipped through''. I suspect they're so desparate to get people back from TalkTalk et al, that they have a policy of ignoring ``do not call'' instructions, which seems amazingly stupid, as some who has asked not to be called is hardly likely to fall for such a call. Or perhaps they're cynical enough to hope that people will switch back in order to stop the marketing calls? Or perhaps they're just lazy or incompetent. I have now called Comreg, who say that it is illegal to call someone on the ``update preference'' list, and it is an invasion of privacy under the Data Protection regulations; the Data Protection regulator is on 01-874-8544.

2006-02-14: They have now called me (on a different contact number) to say that I have been taken off all their call lists. Since I was already supposedly off them, I will wait and see whether this makes any difference.

2007: I didn't get any more calls from them, although I've now moved house to one without an Eircom line, and haven't reckoned it worth paying the connection fee.


If you're on fixed-length employment contracts, and can furnish Customs with suitable evidence of this (letter or contract of employment), you can keep your vehicle on the plates of its previous country, at least for the first year and perhaps longer. I was surprised to find the local Customs people very helpful with this (Customs have a poor reputation in my previous country).

I did this; but it looks like it might have scuppered my chances of getting VRT exemption if I do eventually bring my vehicle in and register it (I took it back to the UK for my brother to use when my exemption ran out, and have mostly cycled since then.

John C. G. Sturdy
[John's home] Last modified: Fri Jul 06 22:36:46 GMT Daylight Time 2007