Are you thinking of moving to Ireland for the long-term? There are many good reasons to do so, but there are also some negative factors that might make you reconsider your decision, namely:
- Low wages
- Housing issues
- Deteriorating healthcare
- Costly education
- Expensive public transport
- Unpredictable weather
- Poor sanitation
- Uncontrolled crime
- Poor consumer options
- Culturally backward
So before packing your bags, read through the rest of this article to determine whether or not moving to Ireland is still a good idea. After learning about the reasons NOT to move to Ireland, you might just change your mind!
Also read: Irish cities that have the best weather.
1. Low wages
Although professionals in certain sectors earn fairly high salaries in Ireland, many labor under exceedingly low wages.
In 2018, more than 370,000 workers were considered low paid. This represents one out of every five employees in the country. And while salaries are higher in Ireland than in the UK, the high cost of living means that workers get much less for their money.
Ireland currently has one of the highest levels of low paid workers in the European Union. Furthermore, this has been the norm for the past two decades, which means that it cannot be attributed solely to the pandemic.
For our purposes, let’s define “low pay” as 2/3 of the median wage. This is the midpoint of the income scale, in which 50% of workers earn more, and 50% earn less. In 2018, the median wage was set at €11.86 per hour. Going by this definition, anyone making less than that can be considered “low-paid.”
Of course, not everyone in Ireland is low paid. Among the highest-paid professionals in the country are pharmacists (€62,970), secondary school teachers (€56,736), accountants (€52,117), and software engineers (€51,915).
But if you belong to the lower paying industries such as warehouse transport, public health, and manufacturing, Ireland might not be an ideal place to relocate.
Read more about salaries in Ireland.
2. Housing issues
Housing issues have plagued Ireland for many years now. Rental and purchase prices can be exorbitant, which is all the more distressing considering the poor quality of homes and neighborhoods one can get for the money.
Some would term the housing issue a crisis. By whatever definition, it can be extremely difficult to find decent rental properties on a standard salary. For some, it can take three weeks or more to find a €1,500 a month apartment. Less than that, and you could be in for an even longer wait.
Purchase prices are even more prohibitive. If you want to purchase a house or an apartment in a city where jobs are abundant, you are looking at €150,000 or more for a single-bedroom unit.
Of course, you could apply for a mortgage with a maturity of, say, 30 years. But that would bring you back to the salary issue. Considering that one out of four jobs in the country pay annual salaries of less than €23,000, such a mortgage may not be feasible.
And even if it were, you would probably struggle to find a lender that would grant you the loan on those wages (Information is from Quora.com).
3. Deteriorating healthcare
The state of Ireland’s healthcare system might also make you reconsider your plans of moving there. Conditions have rapidly deteriorated over the past several years, with many locals attributing the industry’s sorry state to privatization.
In real-world terms, what this means is that you should be prepared for exceedingly long waiting times as standard. Patients often have to wait six to eight hours to be attended to, and a doctor may not even be available then.
It costs €50 minimum for standard checkups and consultations. The fee is the same even if you have private health insurance. Even if a family pays more than €3,000 annually for health insurance, they will still have to pay the €50 fee per consultation and cannot claim it against their policy.
What healthcare does provide is the opportunity to get a scan in a hospital without having to endure weeks-long waits. Dental care is in a similarly dismal state and isn’t even covered by insurance.
Compared to countries such as Belgium, Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands, where 60% to 80% of medical expenses are recoupable, you might want to rethink your plan to move to Ireland.
4. Costly education
If you are thinking of moving to Ireland, be aware that private education can be pretty expensive. The competition for slots in public schools is very fierce, and if you aren’t able to get in, you will have to pay dearly for the privilege of private school education.
But there is a lot more to worry about than cost. The way the educational system is structured also results in less than-optimal learning for students across the board.
Much of the problem lies with the Leaving Certificate, which is considered the most important credential for assessing performance at the secondary level.
The main issue is that this certificate almost assures a specific success rate. With each subject in the curriculum, it’s apparent that the number of students receiving certain grades remains fairly narrow.
Furthermore, hardly anyone receives a grade lower than 40%, which is the minimum passing grade.
Why is this a problem? For one thing, it basically assures everyone of passing the secondary level even without putting in too much effort. When the final exams come around, the students already know the questions and the answers.
There is little opportunity for mental stimulation and challenge, and students are pretty much spoon-fed all throughout.
Until college, that is. When students do manage to get accepted at a university, the more stringent mode of education often comes as quite a shock. Most encounter considerable difficulty adapting, and some even drop out as a result.
Speaking of college, the cost can even be more prohibitive. Universities in Ireland are generally more expensive than their European counterparts. Even with the grants available, foreign students ‒ and even some locals ‒ could encounter considerable financial difficulty.
5. Expensive public transport
A few problems plague the country’s transport industry: the slowness of the intercity trams (LUAS), high cost, and insufficiency of available options in certain areas.
Admittedly, most of these issues are somewhat tolerable when considered individually. Taken together, however, they constitute a poor public transport system that may be enough reason to take Ireland of your countries to consider moving to.
Most major cities actually have pretty good public transport options, with free Wi-Fi and even excellent food and train seats. But while the Dublin Bus offers passable service in Dublin and other towns within 20 kilometers, rural areas aren’t so fortunate.
Furthermore, the overall transportation network is somewhat inadequate. Given all these issues, you might want to look into countries other than Ireland when considering your migration options.
6. Unpredictable weather
One common complaint often levied against Ireland is the weather. It isn’t so much that it constantly rains as in many parts of the UK. In fact, conditions are generally quite pleasant, even if it admittedly rains a lot. But even when it does, it’s usually often just a rain shower and clears up pretty quickly.
The main problem with the weather is its unpredictability. You could be lazing in the afternoon sun at the beach one minute and scrambling for cover as the rain comes pouring down the next. And then the sun might come out, and temperatures can rise again, all within the space of a few minutes.
Some might see this as a plus, as it doesn’t often rain for long periods at any time of the year. But if fickle weather drives you crazy, you might be better off choosing another country to move to.
7. Poor sanitation
Unfortunately, Ireland has cultivated an unsavory reputation as one of the dirtiest countries in Europe. Although there has been a marked improvement over the past several years, many cities, such as Dublin, find it challenging to shake off this image.
Dublin is, in fact, known not too fondly as the “Dirty ’Ol Town.” The few garbage bins scattered throughout the city are almost always full to the brim, and litter lines the streets for miles around.
Even without the cigarette butts, chewing gum, and general garbage on the streets, many parts of the city always seem a bit grimy and rundown. The paving is spotty and uneven in most areas, particularly in the city center, where the LUAS construction has wreaked havoc for several years.
8. Uncontrolled crime
Crime is also a problem in many of the larger cities. Teenaged hoodlums roam the streets in groups, harassing people, damaging and vandalizing property, and robbing passers-by. There are also frequent stabbings and more vicious attacks, often without any apparent reason.
Furthermore, local law enforcement authorities seem largely inept and inefficient against these criminal elements. Although they can often be seen interrogating typical working-class residents, few are willing to take direct action against the gangs.
Of course, some degree of criminality is to be expected in any city. As unfortunate as it is, that’s just a normal aspect of living in a modern-day urban society.
Even so, the number of crimes reported daily in a city with a population of just over five million would seem to suggest that it might be better to live elsewhere.
9. Poor consumer options
Ireland generally lags behind the UK and other European countries in terms of consumer options. Most merchandise is expensive, and many establishments offer online shopping and home deliveries.
This means that you pretty much have to drive to the store to pick up what you need, which is a huge inconvenience if you don’t have a vehicle.
Customer service is also pretty dismal, and that applies to most industries. This is probably due to the lack of competition, which often drives prices down and ensures better quality service.
10. Culturally backward
Finally, Ireland can still be considered a backward country in many ways. Most of the people you will encounter are native-born and have never lived anywhere else in their lives.
You aren’t likely to come across a sizable population of foreigners unless you live in a major city. And even then, they mostly stick to their own.
Ireland also doesn’t have a sprawling cosmopolitan center like London or New York. The closest it has is Dublin and possibly Belfast, but even those large cities aren’t nearly as sophisticated and culturally forward-looking.
Ireland will likely be a huge disappointment if you are young, socially active, and interested in fashion, culture, and the arts.