Coface Group


Population 4.6 million
GDP per capita 54,411 US$ billion
Country risk assessment
Business Climate
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major macro economic indicators

  2013 2014 2015(f)  2016(f)
GDP growth (%) 1.4 5.2 7.8 5.0
Inflation (yearly average) (%) 0.5 0.3 0.3 1.4
Budget balance (% GDP) -5.7 -3.9 -2.2 -1.5
Current account balance (% GDP) 3.1 3.6 5.9 5.7
Public debt (% GDP) 120.0 107.5 99.8 95.4


(f) Forecast


  • Flexible labour and goods markets
  • Business-friendly climate, advantageous tax system
  • Presence of multinational companies
  • Specialisation in high value-added sectors (including pharmaceuticals, IT services)


  • Dependence on the European economic cycle
  • Overindebtedness of the private sector, especially households
  • High public debt, increased by the cost of the banking crisis
  • Banking sector still convalescing

Risk assessment 


Sustained growth, powered by domestic demand and exports

Following a spurt in 2015, growth is expected to continue in the right direction in 2016, even if at a somewhat slower pace, reflectingthe underlyingbaseeffects. It will be driven by consumption, rising as unemployment declines and which is expected to reach 8.7% in 2017, against 9.5% in 2015, as well as by rising wages (the minimum wage is due to be raised by 50 cents/hour) and tax reductions.

Investment is also likely to play a key role in the consolidation of economic expansion and will be supported by public investment in the context of the multi-year plan introduced by the government in September 2015 (Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021) and with an expected cost of 45 billion dollars, equal to 3.5% of GDP per year. These investments will include areas such as transport, education, healthcare, property and renewable energy sources, and are likely to create over 45,000 jobs. The attractiveness of the country for multinationals (labour flexibility and favourable tax treatment) and the upturn in the construction sector should also boost investment.

Economic activity will also be supported by export performances, in particular the pharmaceutics and financial and IT services sectors.Export sSales of servicesabroad, in particular, have grown strongly, benefiting from increased competitiveness and improved demand in the US and UK.

Inflation, having remained low in 2015, thanks to falling energy prices and the moderate rate of growth in wages, is likely to increase in 2016.  This will be a reflection of stronger domestic demand and the end of falling energy prices.


External accounts in surplus and a budget deficit under control

Ireland began recording current account surpluses in 2010 thanks to the low level of imports, in a context of contracting domestic demand, and a boost to its price competitiveness which helped increase exports. The current account surplus is expected to remain large relative to GDP in 2016. The vitality of exports should be buoyed not just by the multinational firms operating in Ireland, but also its domestic companies benefiting from a euro which is experiencing a moderate depreciation against the dollar and by easier access to finance. Export sales continue to be dominated by foreign owned companies in the high tech, financial and chemicals sectors, with this latter accounting for almost 60% of exports of goods. This advance in exports should help offset the growth in imports driven by strengthening domestic demand, the increase in royalties paid to parent companies and the purchase of intermediate chemical products.

The country ended, in December 2013, its international rescue plan without having to call on its Precautionary and Liquidity Line. Budgetary policy is likely to become slightly expansionary in 2016 with the tax cuts (a series of tax reforms worth 600 million euros was contained in the 2016 draft finance bill) and a faster growth in spending than expected. The public debt ratio, which has ballooned in recent years as a result of the bail-out of the banking sector and the recession, remains very high but is gradually being reduced. The potential viability of the debt has improved but continues to be contingent on the country’s ability to generate a fast enough rate of growth and primary budget surpluses.


Tensions within the governing coalition in the run-up to parliamentary elections

After three years of austerity and despite internal tensions, the governing coalition remains united. It has however lost popularity, as was evidenced by the collapse of the Labour Party (centre-left), one of the two elements of the coalition, in the European and municipal elections in May 2014. The government however has not been faced with any serious social unrest and looks likely to be in a position to complete its term of office. Because of the political fragmentation of the country, the outcome of the next elections (April 2016 at the latest) could oblige Fine Gael, the leader in the polls, to govern with a wider coalition than the current one.

The country is not expected to see serious social tensions thanks to the continuing dialogue with the union, social protection, the wealth accumulated during the boom years and emigration.

Finally, Ireland retains its ranking above the European average in terms of governance, in 17th position out of 189 countries.


(Last update : January 2016 ) 




Cheques are generally used for both domestic and international commercial transactions although, for international transactions, the use of bills of exchange is preferred.


Bank transfers are common with SWIFT transfers being utilised regularly. These are often seen as a quick and efficient method of payment.


Direct Debits and Standing orders are also becoming more recognised as an effective method of making payment for regular and expected financial transactions.


Debt collection


The debt collection process usually begins with the debtor being sent a “demand for payment” followed by a series of further written correspondence, telephone calls and, debt value permitting, personal visits and debtor meetings. Each stage of the collection process is designed to escalate from an amicable – pre-legal- collection phase towards litigation should the debtor fail to remedy the debt.

Where there is no specific interest clause, the rate applicable to commercial contracts concluded after 7 August 2002 (Regulation number 388 of 2002) is the benchmark rate, i.e. the European Central Bank’s refinancing rate, in force before 1st January or 1st July of the relevant year, marked up by seven percentage points and applied to the contracts via a percentage calculated per day past due date.

For claims exceeding 1,270 Euros, debtors may be threatened with a “statutory demand” for the winding-up (Closure) of their business if they fail to make payment or come to Acceptable terms within three weeks after they receive a “statutory demand” for payment (a “21-day notice”).

Thereafter the debtor is regarded as insolvent (Companies Act 1963/2009, section 214, amended in 1990 and 2001).

In ordinary proceedings, creditors who hold material evidence of a claim (contractual documents, acknowledgement of debt, unpaid bills of exchange) which the debtor has no valid basis for contesting, may seek a “summary judgment” from the court and thereby obtain a writ of enforcement more quickly.


If a defendant fails to respond within the allotted time to a court summons (either a plenary or summary summons before the High Court, a civil bill before the Circuit Court, or a civil summons before the District Court), the creditor may obtain a judgement by default based on the submission of an affidavit of debt without a court hearing.


An affidavit of debt is a sworn statement that substantiates the outstanding amount and cause of the claim. It bears a signature attested by a notary or an Irish consular office.


The claim amount at stake will determine the competent court: the District Court, then the Circuit Court, and, for claims exceeding 38,092.14 Euros, the High Court in Dublin, which has unlimited jurisdiction to hear civil and criminal cases and to assess, in the first instance, the constitutionality of laws enacted by Parliament (Oireachtais).


Commercial Court 

The creation on 12 January 2004 of a commercial court – as a special High Court division – competent to hear commercial disputes exceeding one million Euros, included in a commercial list or cases concerning intellectual property, provides a suitable and rapid examination of the cases submitted.


By improving the commercial litigation process, the commercial court has become more efficient and has therefore increased in popularity among business users.


When a defendant answers a summons, asserts his rights, and refuses to make payment, relatively formal plenary proceedings are instituted wherein the court gives equal importance to the case documents submitted by the parties – with possible recourse to the discovery system for the submission of adequate evidence – barrister’s arguments, and oral testimonies presented at the main hearing.


Customarily, depending on the judge’s decision, court costs are borne by the losing party.


The Court judiciary consists of:

The Courts of Ireland consist of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeal, the High Court, the Circuit Court and the District Court. The courts apply the laws of Ireland. Ireland is a common law jurisdiction. Except in exceptional circumstances, court hearings must occur in public.


Superior courts


The Supreme Court and the High Court are established by the Constitution. The High Court also has authority to interpret the Constitution. It also tries the most serious criminal and civil cases, and hears certain appeals from lower courts.


Lower courts

Beneath the superior courts are the Circuit Court and the District Court. The Circuit Court deals with matters that must be tried before a jury. The District Court deals only with minor matters that may be tried summarily.

The Republic Of Ireland has a “common law” system.

The Circuit Court (Irish: An Chúirt Chuarda) of Ireland is an intermediate level court of local and limited jurisdiction in which hears both civil and criminal matters. On the civil side the Circuit Court has a considerable parallel jurisdiction — including equitable remedies — with the High Court but normally cannot award damages of more than €75,000.



The civil jurisdiction of the Circuit court is limited to a compensation claim not exceeding €75,000.

Civil matters heard in the Circuit Court can be appealed to the High Court.

The District Court (Irish: An Chúirt Dúiche) is the main court of summary jurisdiction in Ireland. It has responsibility for hearing small civil claims.

The civil jurisdiction is limited to damages not exceeding €15,000; the court has no equitable jurisdiction.


Taking a Civil Case

There are various types of civil claims that you may take to court or be obliged to defend in court.

Many cases do not get to court because they are settled in advance.

After the court case, if you are unhappy with the outcome, you can appeal the decision.

Whether your case is heard in the District Court, the Circuit Court or the High Court will depend on the value of your case, i.e., how much you claim the Defendant should pay you.

The District Court has power to award up to 6,348.69 euro in damages. The Circuit Court has power to award up to 38,092 euro in damages. The High Court has unlimited power to award damages.
To commence proceedings, you must issue and serve a written court document called a writ or pleading.


Time Limits for Actions

A claim based on breach of contract or libel must be brought within six years of the breach or publication.
Cases relating to land generally must be brought within 12 years.

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