Europe and the Cost of Living: Ireland | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 11.02.2008
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Europe and the Cost of Living: Ireland

As fears of a recession circle the globe, DW-WORLD.DE asked people from seven European countries about their impressions of the cost of living. The series continues in Ireland.

A deserted village on the island of Gola, Ireland

Ireland has an abundance of empty houses

Marilena is an Italian who moved to Ireland two years ago to study English. She now works as a cashier at a cinema. She lives 20 minutes by bus from the city of Cork and shares a house with her partner. The house has two floors and is about 160 square meters (1,722 square feet).

Monthly income: 1,120 euros ($1,653)

Rent: 240 euros per month ($354)

Monthly utilities: 35 euros ($51.65)

One liter milk: 0.60 euros ($0.88)

Loaf of bread: 1.20 euros ($1.77)

One kilogram of sugar: 0.80 euros ($1.18)

Movie ticket: 5.50 euros ($8.12) before 5:00 p.m., 8.50 euros ($12.55) after 5:00 p.m.

Have you noticed that things have become more expensive recently?

Yes, after the summer the prices have risen.

How easy is it for you to get by?

In my opinion people who are working don't have any problems in meeting their needs, but the problem is for people who sign a new work contract. When you begin a new job you begin at the base salary and that could be a problem. But with the years that pass your salary will increase so it's only hard in the beginning.

In any case the Irish government helps people. In my opinion, here in Ireland you can't talk about poverty, when I look around and talk to people, I see that there aren't any really poor people here. I haven't heard of people talking about economic difficulties here.

The only thing that people say is expensive is entertainment. To go out, to go to a restaurant, the cinema or in a pub you pay a lot. If you work and you stay at home then I think you are able to put some money aside, but if you like to go out and have a social life, such as going to a nightclub, then you have to pay for it. For example, in Italy my home country, for girls it's free to go to most nightclubs, but in Ireland even the girls have to pay.

To what extent does inflation affect you?

Since January the prices have increased. I've been reading in the papers that the cost of buying a house has increased. Here in Ireland, at this moment the construction industry is in crisis. They began to build a large number of houses to be rented out to guest workers, from counties like Poland. Now many of the workers have returned home, so there's a large number of houses but they're empty. That keeps the construction industry from moving ahead because there are already too many houses and they haven't been sold or rented.

The rent is therefore really cheap, but if you want to buy then it's really expensive.

What's your opinion on the European economy?

Even with the minimum wage here in Ireland you manage to meet your needs. I'm someone who likes to go out, to have a good time and not stay at home, but even I manage to do this. I can even plan a holiday. The minimum wage allows for basic things, but you can live well here in Ireland. It's all proportional, you pay a lot but you earn enough.

Nb. Currency conversion based on 1 euro = $1.47840 US

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