Irish Ambassador Ruaidhri Mark Dowling Discusses Irish-Croatian Relations

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Irish Ambassador Ruaidhri Mark Dowling also discussed the possibilities of improving economic cooperation between the two EU member states and why Croats often choose Ireland as the country of their dreams.

Is it easy to find a job in Ireland?

People tend to find work in the tourism and IT sector and these seem to be the main sectors in which they currently work. These are the two sectors that have great growth and the greatest opportunities! Ireland has been doing economically well over recent years and there has been work to be had, although COVID-19 has had a dramatic negative impact on parts of the Irish economy, which has also affected employment opportunities.

How do you see the economic cooperation between Croatia and Ireland?

Economic cooperation between Croatia and Ireland isn’t enormous and I would like it to develop more. Ireland and Croatia are small, open economies that must trade with their neighbours if they’re to be economically successful.

In areas such as the green transition and digitalisation, Ireland and Croatia can learn a lot from each other. Croats who have returned from Ireland with useful contacts, experience and ideas have great potential for building yet more economic ties.

On top of that, Croatia could act as a base for Irish companies that want to enter the Balkan region, there are many opportunities for research.

How much has the global coronavirus pandemic affected the Irish economy?

Much like it is in Croatia, many sectors of the Irish economy have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, especially the hospitality sector. For example, the number of tourists decreased from approximately 18.5 million back in 2019 to just 4.5 million in 2020.

How much do the Irish know about Croatia? Could the number of tourist arrivals from Ireland be higher?

I think they’re getting to know Croatia more and more. Many have visited Croatia in recent years and some have come here to live or know some Croats living in Ireland. Back in 2019, 111 thousand Irish tourists visited Croatia, which is 32 percent more than in 2018. I have no doubt that if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t occurred, these numbers would have continued to increase.

We’re now hearing about a number of Irish visitors and it will be interesting to see the final figures. The small Irish community in the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian community in Ireland are also very active in this.

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