Monetary unit: Euro
Capital city: Dublin
Major languages: Irish; English
Major religions: Roman Catholic 86.8%; Church of Ireland (Anglican) 3.0%; other Christian 2.7%; nonreligious 4.4%; other 3.1%
Ethnic composition: Irish 95.0%; British 1.7%, of which English 1.4%; Ulster Irish 1.0%; U.S. white 0.8%; other 1.5%.
Age breakdown: under 15, 20.6%; 15–29, 23.4%; 30–44, 23.1%; 45–59, 17.5%; 60–74, 10.6%; 75–84, 3.6%; 85 and over, 1.2%.
Life expectancy: male 77.5 years; female 82.3 years
Education: Percentage of population ages 15–64 having: no formal schooling/primary education 15.1%; some/complete secondary 46.5%; postsecondary certificate 9.4%; some higher 9.5%; complete higher 16.8%; unknown 2.7%.
Urban/Rural split: urban 60.5%; rural 39.5%
Income per household (USD): -
Broadband internet users (%): -
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica
If ever a country was going to be a natural fit for PR, then surely it is Ireland. It is of course a sweeping generalisation to describe the Irish as natural communicators who have been kissed by the Blarney Stone and are used to putting a positive slant on events, but it is a generalisation endorsed by many Irish PRs themselves.
For example, Tamara Somers, PR & trade marketing manager at Philips Consumer Lifestyle in Dublin, says: “It's a cliché I know but Ireland is renowned for its friendliness and its people tend to be natural networkers. It is these characteristics which give the Irish PR industry an advantage when providing communications for a brand.”
That innate positivity has certainly been needed in the past few years as the former Celtic Tiger has been reduced to a mewling kitten begging for bailouts from the EU. For years, a low
corporation tax rate of 12.5% attracted foreign investment and rapidly transformed an agricultural economy into one a modern, digital economy. Then the financial crisis hit and today, despite a massive EU bailout in late 2010, government debt remains at around 100% of GDP and youth unemployment sits at 30%.
These have been tough times indeed, and Laurie Mannix, chairman at the PRCA Ireland reports that the fortunes of the PR industry have followed those of the broader economy. “Between 2008 and 2010 the large and medium sized firms downsized, but this is now stabilising,” she says. “Agencies have become much more competitive on fees, and increasingly clients are seeing PR agencies as good value for money.”
News and current affairs on Irish TV is very much dominated by RTE One, followed by TV3 and TG4. RTE also dominates radio with its RTE One station. Other notable radio stations are 2FM, Today FM and Newstalk.
The most important shift in media has been the rise of social media. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have their European offices in Dublin, and the Irish people have wholeheartedly embraced the digital revolution. Online news sites such as TheJournal.ie and Breakingnews.ie continue to grow in popularity, and the Irish are avid users of Facebook and Twitter.
Michelle Toner, Meteor Communications and PR
Manager at eircom Group, details how this has changed PR: “Blogging, video production, digital expertise and citizenship journalism are as important as traditional communications tools. Not only are offline players embracing digital media more readily, but those with online capabilities are integrating social media heavily into their plans.”
She adds: “For example, in our recent Presidential race candidate Seán Gallagher's campaign was seriously hit after a tweet about an alleged €5,000 cheque to the Presidential front runner during a national television debate.”
Mannix at the PRCA Ireland points to the pharma sector, citing Novartis, Abbott and Pfizer are regular award winners for their PR efforts. She also praises the work Guinness does in promoting itself as embedded in the fabric of Irish culture.
She adds: “Dublin Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in
Europe has in recent years used PR and social media to become the number visitor attraction
in Ireland. In the public sector, Fàilte Ireland won excellence in communications awards in 2001 and 2009 for its work in promoting Ireland as a tourist destination.
He points out however that at the moment Ireland is not a place to be making vast profits from PR. He says: “Were it not for their international clients many of the multi-nationals would find it very difficult to make money in the depressed Irish market."
He adds: “Of the indigenous Irish firms Murray