Andora to be Ireland’s first competitive test at Aviva Stadium


The Republic of Ireland will start their Euro-2012 qualifying campaign away to Armenia on 3 September with the new Aviva Stadium being the host the first home game of the tournament qualifiers against Andora four days later.

The campaign will end, as it started -against Armenia, in Dublin on 11 October 2011.

Republic manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, said in an interview: ‘The early fixtures represent good opportunities for us and it is always good to finish at home,” and he added: “On balance, these fixtures are better than those we had in the previous World Cup qualification campaign.

“I also think the squad will have benefitted from the significant steps forward made against top sides like Bulgaria, Montenegro, Italy, France and Brazil.”

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Stephen Ireland to return for his country?


Reports this morning suggest that Stephen Ireland is ready to return to the international soccer scene with the Republic of Ireland.

The Manchester City midfielder’s father, Michael, claims his son wants to make himself available to Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni for action in 2009.

The City star, who has been in superb form for his club so far this season, decided Continue reading

Vat goes up (and down) in Ireland


In two very different and contradictory reactions to recession, VAT (sales tax) has been adjusted in opposite directions in the two economic jurisdictions on the Island of Ireland.

The government of the Republic of Ireland increased the standard rate of VAT at midnight just past from 21% to 21.5% in an attempt to boost national exchequer finances.
In Northern Ireland, however, at the exact same moment the standard rate of VAT has fallen from 17.5% to 15% in an attempt by the government of the United Kingdom to stimulate economic activity in the face of declining output. The UK move is a temporary move for 13 months until the end of 2009.

Combined with a weakened UK£, the moves make Northern Ireland an extremely attractive destination for tourists and day-trippers alike.