Martin O’Neill Is in the Managerial Elite Even If a Top Job Eludes him

O'Neill

London – Blink, and you might have missed the part Shepshed Charterhouse, in the puddles and potholes of the Northern Premier League, played in the professional life of Martin O’Neill, back in the days when aspiring managers were prepared to start at the bottom and learn the hard way.

O’Neill’s first steps in management were actually with Grantham Town, grubbing around for points in the then Beazer Homes League, Midlands Division, a couple of rungs below the Conference. O’Neill arranged the deal at a bed-and-breakfast on the A52 and had a five-year plan in place until he ended up falling out with the chairman and, still in situ, found his job being advertised in the Nottingham Evening Post. Shepshed were next but O’Neill’s time at the Dovecote was distinguished only by how quickly he came and went. The unofficial website for what is now Shepshed Dynamo summed it up rather neatly: “1989 – July – appointed Martin O’Neill as manager. October – sacked Martin O’Neill as manager. Wonder what became of him.”

In fact, O’Neill was not sacked and the truth makes for an even better story. O’Neill, like many ex-pros of that time, had been embarking on a career in insurance, working in the offices of Save & Prosper while his old pal and team-mate, John Robertson, his No2 at Shepshed, was out on the road trying to drum up business. It is a situation that could never happen now: two European Cup winners adjusting to a nine-to-five office job. The problem was combining that with trying to run a football team. “On one occasion we were almost late getting to a midweek match against Frickley Colliery in south Yorkshire,” Robertson recalls. It was obvious it could not continue that way and O’Neill gave up Shepshed to concentrate on Save & Prosper.

It is a great story bearing in mind what we know now, almost 30 years on, about his list of achievements, most recently as manager of the Republic of Ireland, the conveyor belt of players who speak about him in awe and the unmistakable sense, more than anything, that they will give absolutely everything they have to get his approval.

My first professional dealings with O’Neill came at Leicester City – the club where, I always maintain, he put together his most outstanding work. O’Neill had taken over in the same week that I had moved to the city and, as a young agency reporter putting out the old rotary-dial telephones in the pressbox, it was a marvel to see, up‑close, how much the players and fans at Filbert Street disliked him when he took over and how, by the end, he had the entire city dancing to his tune.

O’Neill faced down the makings of a dressing-room mutiny and transformed a second-tier team in such an invigorating way the people of Leicester, pre-2016, could have been forgiven for wondering whether it would ever get any better. There were four top-10 finishes after securing promotion with virtually the final kick of O’Neill’s first season, in the 1996 play-off final. His team reached three League Cup finals, winning two, and lifted their first silverware since 1964. They went to Anfield four times, won three and drew the other.

Everyone remembers Dennis Bergkamp’s improvisational brilliance for his hat-trick goal at Leicester in August 1997. What tends to be forgotten is that it came in the third minute of stoppages and O’Neill’s team still found the time to conjure up the final goal of a 3-3 draw. Bergkamp left the pitch that night shaking his head in disbelief and that, in a nutshell, was the O’Neill effect. In all the years since, it is difficult to recall more than a handful of teams with such a spirit of togetherness.

It certainly wasn’t a surprise to see Ireland qualifying, at the expense of Wales, for a place in Tuesday’s draw for the World Cup play-offs and there have been so many other examples of O’Neill’s expertise in the interim years it does feel slightly unfair, perhaps, that he has never been given a chance to manage one of the Premier League’s elite clubs.

It tends to be forgotten, for example, that there was once a time when O’Neill was the overwhelming favorite to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. O’Neill was managing Celtic at the time, where he won seven trophies and reached the Uefa Cup final, and the Manchester press corps still talk about the 2003 press conference before the two teams played a pre-season fixture in Seattle. When O’Neill was asked about replacing Ferguson he answered with great diplomacy bearing in mind the man himself was directly to his left. Yet the journalist who asked the question was already feeling a pair of Glaswegian eyes boring into his skull. “Don’t worry about him,” Ferguson whispered to O’Neill, quietly enough not to be heard by his audience but loud enough to be picked up by the tapes. Ferguson always sounded extra Glaswegian and talked a little bit quicker when his temper had been roused.

All good fun. The problem for O’Neill if he did fancy that job was that Ferguson – “The Man Who Couldn’t Retire,” as the Daily Telegraph called him – stayed for another 10 years and when United did finally need a new manager, in May 2013, it was two months after “Squire”, as he is still known by his old Nottingham Forest team-mates (a nod to his university background), had been sacked for the only time in his career. Even the most accomplished managers tend to have one club on their CV where it goes wrong. For O’Neill, his spell in the managerial wasteland of Sunderland came at the worst possible time.

What is more surprising, perhaps, is that his four years at Aston Villa are not remembered more fondly by their supporters. Villa finished 11th, up from 16th, in his first campaign and then sixth in each of O’Neill’s last three seasons at the club, qualifying for Europe and, in 2010, reaching a Wembley final. They improved their points total every season and in his second campaign they scored more times, 71, than they had since winning the league a quarter of a century before. The 1980-81 team managed 72 – but that was over 42 games, not 38.

The call won’t come now, though. O’Neill recently agreed a two-year extension to his contract with Ireland. He will be 68 when it expires and he might just have to accept that some of the elite clubs could be put off by his team’s lack of artistic merit.

Equally, take a close look at the squad before questioning why Ireland don’t pass the ball more elegantly. Eighteen of the players O’Neill called up for the Wales game were from teams in the Championship, whereas only 11 came from top-division clubs. Of those, only three played for teams that finished in the top half of the Premier League last season. Where Roy Keane once patrolled, it is now David Meyler of Hull City. For Robbie Keane, it is Daryl Murphy of Nottingham Forest. James McClean is now probably Ireland’s best player. He will run until he drops and his goal against Wales was taken beautifully – but, as wingers go, he is hardly in the class of Liam Brady. Or even Damien Duff. Is it any wonder the opposition often have more of the ball?

The point is there are all sorts of ways to win a football match. O’Neill won the European Cup for a side whose backs-to-the-wall operation against Hamburg in the 1980 final was denounced in the German press as “Blitzkrieg football” and described by Brian Glanville in the Sunday Times as “tactical cowardice”. Do you think Clough cared when he had the trophy on top of his television? And would you imagine O’Neill will worry about the unrealistic snobbery if he makes it to Russia next summer with one of the least distinguished groups of Irish players for some time?

For now, O’Neill’s CV is the best response. It always was. Robertson remembers what his mate was like in the world of insurance. “By his own admission, Martin’s knowledge of the financial services we were trying to sell was not the best. But he came across as though he knew the business inside out.”

The Guardian Sport

Ireland Wants EU Role in Palestinian-Israeli Peace Negotiations

Coveney

Tallinn (Estonia) – Ireland called on the European Union to play a greater role in US-led efforts to revive the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

Speaking to EU foreign ministers at a meeting on Middle East policy in Tallinn, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that the union has a task to get its voice heard in any new American initiative as the Palestinians’ biggest aid donor and Israel’s top trade partner..

Israelis and Palestinians will face more unrest over the next year without a revival of a long-fractured Middle East peace process that the EU must be part of, he added.

Coveney, who met Israeli and Palestinian leaders less than a month after taking up his post in June, is leading the charge to involve the EU in a fresh attempt at peace talks and overcome divisions that have weakened the bloc’s influence.

“My concern is that it will be a much more difficult political challenge in a year’s time or in two years’ time,” Coveney told Reuters.

“If you look at cycles of violence in Gaza, for example, without intervention and new initiatives in my view, we are heading there again,” he stated, describing the Israel-Palestinian situation as an “open sore” that could erupt at any time.

Coveney has also met Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, and said it was crucial that the EU sought to influence US plans that are being drawn up by Greenblatt and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.

Coveney stressed that EU governments had to pull together and keep the focus on a two-state solution.

“Now is the time for the European Union … to become more vocal,” said Coveney, who met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in July.

Coveney explained that the European Union had a right to be heard because EU governments and the European Commission spend 600 million euros ($724 million) a year on aid to the Palestinians and on projects with Israel.

“We cannot simply wait for the US to take an initiative on their own, we should be supportive of them and helping them to shape it and design it in a way that is likely to have international community support,” he said, although he added he still did not know what the US proposals would look like.

“In the absence of the US being able to bring forward a new initiative, I think the EU will have to do that itself.”

Hurdles for the European Union include its range of positions, ranging from Germany’s strong support for Israel to Sweden’s 2014 decision to officially recognize the state of Palestine, something Ireland considered three years ago.

Coveney said the European Union is also perceived by some in Israel as being too pro-Palestinian, partly because of the EU’s long-held opposition to Israeli settlements.

But Coveney noted that the European Union could build trust with Israel by deepening ties in trade, science, scholarships for students and to pursue what he called “a positive agenda”.

The EU aims to hold a high-level meeting with Israel to broaden trade and other economic links later this year, although a date is still pending. It would be the first such meeting since 2012.

In a Remote Irish Town, a Goat Reigns Supreme

A crown is affixed to a wild goat as it is crowned King Puck and will be held on a platform above the town for three days in Killorglin

KILLORGLIN, Ireland- For a few days this week a goat will be king of a small town in Ireland’s rural south west.

Billed as one of Ireland’s oldest festivals, the Puck Fair sees locals in the town of Killorglin pluck a wild mountain goat from its habitat and crown him ‘King Puck’ for the duration of the event.

This year’s king was paraded through the town on Thursday, where he was crowned by the Queen of Puck – an honor bestowed on a local schoolgirl. He appeared relaxed, if occasionally bemused, during his coronation.

“I’ve seen it for the last 11 years so it’s nothing new but when I first moved here from England I thought it was strange,” festival-goer Ben Henry, 25, of Killarney told Reuters.

“I heard a fella today saying he’s been coming to Puck for 57 years so that says a lot!” he added.

The festival will feature music, street performers and a horse fair.

The origins of the event are unclear, though there are many local theories from a harvest festival to tales of a lone goat fleeing Oliver Cromwell’s troops into the village.

Organizers say historical references to the festival date back to the early 17th century.

As for King Puck, organizers say he is to be treated royally during his brief reign with a diet of ash tree branches, water and cabbage to sustain him until he returns to his mountain home following his dethronement ceremony.

Organizers expect to welcome more than 100,000 visitors during the festival which runs until Aug. 12.

Brexit Negotiations Begin Amid Feuds in London

London – Britain and European Union (EU) began on Monday a round of negotiations on Britain’s divorce from the EU which they have less than two years to complete. This is the second one following a preliminary round where the two parties determined dates for the meetings and prioritized the issues to be discussed.

Both teams would brief the media on Thursday after they have spent four days tackling a range of priority issues.

Monday’s sessions focused on three priorities are commonly referred to as citizens’ rights, financial settlement, and borders with Ireland.

European Commission’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier hoped a common ground will be achieved that will lead to the desired goals of both parties. While UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis acknowledged it was incredibly important to make progress and identify the differences so that all parties can deal with them and identify the similarities so they can reinforce them.

In UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson accused EU of proposing “extortionate” Brexit bill demands.

Finance minister Philip Hammond described the new about the sum of money UK owes to EU as “ridiculous.”

He did, however, say on Sunday that Britain will take responsibility for the money it owes the EU after leaving the bloc, as he acknowledged the cabinet was split over Brexit.

“We are a country that always honors its obligations. If there is any amount that is due when it’s been properly quantified and audited, of course, we’ll deal with it,” he told the BBC.

On July 12, EU’s chief Brexit negotiator says settling the bill is of major importance as a basis for future discussions on trade, security, and defense.

Knowing that the Brexit charges were estimated to be €60 billion as mentioned by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, reported the Financial Times in May.

Last week, a report was issued in the UK saying it is crucial to determine the basis of fair negotiations to determine rights and duties of Britain. Europeans, on the other hand, confirm they have finalized their primary preparations since last May and are eager to know the British road map which had been altered after PM Theresa May was unable to attain the majority in the elections on June 08.

EU conditions a swift solution for Europeans residing in UK, about 3.5 million. UK responded that any resident who had been in UK for five years will be able to receive a permanent residency and will attain his rights, except the right to vote in local elections.

Not all British people are okay with that solution and some even threatened to veto the final agreement if EU residents’ conditions were not improved.

The Guardian mentioned the May’s government is accused by negotiators in Brussels of giving Europeans second-degree rights.

EU also stressed the importance of setting the borders with Ireland and British country in Northern Ireland.

“It’s not easy and it might be expensive, but we are not asking for a single pound or euro more than they have legally agreed to provide. You can discuss this or that budget line, but they have to start by recognizing that they have entered into commitments,” said Barnier.

Irish Ship Rescues Hundreds Near Libya as EU Effort to Halt Migrants Founders

Migrants in a dinghy await rescue by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station around 20 nautical miles off the coast of Libya

Ireland’s Defense Forces said on Monday that an Irish naval ship rescued 712 people including pregnant women and infants off the coast of the Libyan capital as part of an international migrant rescue effort.

The LÉ Eithne ship led the rescue of multiple vessels in distress 40 kilometers northwest of Tripoli throughout Sunday.

Six migrants, including one baby, were revived from states of unconsciousness.

The ship will transport the people, including 14 pregnant women and four infants below the age of four months, to a designated “port of safety” to be handed over to Italian authorities.

“I’m very proud to say all lives were saved, no lives were lost. It was a complex operation where lives were at stake at every turn over a full eight-hour period,” Commander Brian Fitzgerald told national broadcaster RTE from the ship.

“Overall, they were really in a wretched condition but in all cases healthy enough to undertake the journey to a port of safety.”

Half a million people have crossed the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy over the past four years, mainly sub-Saharan Africans who pay smugglers to shepherd them across the desert to Libya, and onward to Europe in unseaworthy dinghies. An estimated 13,000 of them have drowned.

According to Reuters, European governments want to stop the migrants and break the grip of the smugglers. But more than four months after Italy and the European Union launched a new push to tackle the crisis, accounts by migrants, aid workers and officials show that effort is all but failing to make a difference.

When Libyan authorities do catch migrants, they take them to detention centers nominally under the control of the government, which already house about 8,000 people. Though Europeans have pledged funding to improve the camps, some are still so cramped that migrants have to sleep sitting up.

At Tripoli’s Tariq al-Siqqa migrant center, where visiting dignitaries are brought, flowers have been planted in the
courtyard and wash-basins installed. But behind a padlocked metal gate hundreds of migrants still languish, crammed side to side on mattresses in a single unventilated room.

“They shut us up, they imprison us, they ask us for money,” said one 22-year-old from Guinea, who has been in the center since March, when he was intercepted by the Libyan coastguard with about 120 other migrants shortly after they set off for Italy. “They hit people.”

Since last year, the EU has made a push to cooperate with a new Libyan government backed by the United Nations. Coastguard training began on board EU ships in October. In February, Italy signed a memorandum of understanding with Tripoli that the EU quickly endorsed, earmarking 90 million euros.

But Europe has delivered little concrete support. “They want us to be Europe’s policeman. At the same time, that policeman needs resources,” said naval coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem. “I challenge anyone to work in these conditions.”

Tarek Shanbour, a senior coastguard official, also said: “We meet, we talk, we take decisions, we make agreements, but on the ground there is no execution.”

Irish Prime Minister to Leave Fine Gael Party by Early June

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny on Wednesday said he will step down once a new leader for his Fine Gael party is elected by June 2 at the latest.

“I will retire as leader of Fine Gael effective from midnight tonight,” Kenny said, opening the way for a swift leadership contest.

In a statement on his way into a parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening, Kenny said he would continue as prime minister pending the election of his successor.

“I will continue to carry out my duties as party leader in an acting capacity until my successor is elected,” the 66-year-old said.

“I have asked that the Fine Gael executive council expedite this process and to have it concluded by close of business on Friday June 2.”

Kenny is the longest-serving member of the Dail, the lower house of parliament, having first been elected in 1975.

He has led the center-right Fine Gael party for 15 years and been prime minister since 2011.

He is the first Fine Gael leader to win re-election to office.

Two candidates have so far declared an interest in becoming the next party leader and, by default, the next prime minister for the remainder of what is widely considered to be a fragile, minority government.

Leo Varadkar, 38, may appear an unlikely front-runner in what is still regarded as a socially conservative, relatively homogeneous country.

The Dublin-born son of an Indian immigrant father and Irish mother became the first overtly gay cabinet minister when he declared his sexuality in a national radio interview in 2015 and has campaigned on issues such as same-sex marriage and more liberal abortion laws.

The high-profile social protection minister practiced as a doctor before winning a seat in 2007 and has rapidly risen through the ranks to hold several ministerial portfolios.

His rival Simon Coveney, 44, fits the more traditional profile of a Fine Gael leader and is steeped in politics.

He was first elected to parliament in 1998 following the death of his father who had held the Cork South-Central seat before him.

The current housing minister has also been in charge of several portfolios including agriculture and defense. He is married with three daughters.

EU’s Tusk Says UK Must Settle Past before Discussing Future

EU Commission President Juncker poses with Irish PM Kenny in Brussels

EU President Donald Tusk stressed on Saturday that Britain must first resolve the key divorce issues of “people, money and Ireland” before moving to talks on a post-Brexit trade deal.

“Before discussing our future, we must first sort out our past,” Tusk said Saturday in a letter to leaders of the remaining 27 European Union countries ahead of a summit.

Former Polish premier Tusk stressed that the “only possible approach” was phased talks in which Britain must make “sufficient progress” on the divorce issues before talks on future relations.

Britain had wanted to discuss its divorce settlement with the bloc and a trade deal at the same time.

The EU says the key issues are the fate of three million EU citizens living in Britain and one million Britons resident in the EU; Britain’s exit bill estimated at around 60 billion euros; and the fate of the border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.

“This is not only a matter of tactics, but — given the limited time frame we have to conclude the talks — it is the only possible approach,” Tusk wrote to the leaders.

“I would like us to unite around this key principle during the upcoming summit, so that it is clear that progress on people, money and Ireland must come first,” he wrote.

“And we have to be ready to defend this logic during the upcoming negotiations.”

His comments come a day after a row between British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the two years of negotiations ahead of Britain’s exit from the EU in March 2019.

Merkel said Britain should not have “illusions” about getting favorable treatment, but May hit back by accusing the EU 27 of planning to “line up to oppose us.”

At Saturday’s summit the EU 27 leaders are set to adopt guidelines for the negotiations on Brexit, following May’s formal triggering of the two-year divorce process last month.

The EU leaders at a Brexit summit on Saturday will discuss whether to back automatic membership for the British province of Northern Ireland after Brexit if a referendum unites the island, EU diplomats said on Friday.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has previously asked fellow members of the bloc to acknowledge that Northern Ireland would, like East Germany in 1990, automatically enter the EU in the event of unification with the existing member state, the Irish Republic.

Kenny is expected to ask the other 26 leaders meeting in Brussels on Saturday (1 May) to endorse a negotiating plan for Britain’s withdrawal to give a political validation to what Irish and EU legal experts say is the position in international law of such territorial changes.

“We expect Ireland to ask on Saturday for a statement to be added to the minutes of the European Council, which states that in case of a unification of the island in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement, the united Ireland would be a member of the EU,” an EU Council source told AFP.

The source added that should the question of a united Ireland arise, “it would be for the peoples of Ireland and Northern Ireland to decide in accordance with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.”

According to the 1998 peace accord, which was backed by the British and Irish states, referendums should be held on both sides of the border to approve unification of the island. The current British government has acknowledged that Northern Ireland, if it united with the Republic, should be in a position to rejoin the EU.

The leaders, meeting without British Prime Minister Theresa May, would enter their agreement with Kenny’s position in the formal minutes of the Council. These are normally published only after a subsequent meeting, though they are likely in this case to be made public immediately by those taking part in the summit.

Irish Real Estate Market Slowly Recovering

Dublin- This 3,670-square-foot Victorian house, known as the Old Rectory, was built in the late 1870s and used as a rectory until the mid-20th century. It is a 10-minute walk from the village of Ashford, in County Wicklow, about 30 miles from Dublin’s city center.

The front door, which is original to the house, opens onto a small entryway and, beyond that, a foyer. To the right are the dining room, a family room and a bathroom outfitted with bookshelves (the owners call it “the library bathroom”). To the left of the foyer is a large drawing room. A corridor off the foyer leads to the back of the house, connecting the kitchen, pantry, a boot room, a playroom and a half bathroom. A staircase from the foyer leads to the second floor, where there are five bedrooms, including a master with an en-suite bath. Original fixtures include marble fireplaces, windows and servants’ bells, and records document the property’s history. The kitchen’s four-oven AGA stove was installed several decades ago. The roof on the main house is about 10 years old; the coach house roof is at most 15.

Separated from the main house by a courtyard, the approximately 1,300-square-foot coach house has a living room, a full bathroom and a kitchen, as well as a separate half-bath at the back, accessible from the outside. The large room upstairs has been used as a writing studio and as a space for slumber parties. The property was a happy place for raising children, said Maureen Soraghan, an interior designer who is one of the owners. The lot, which is about four and a half acres, also has stables, an indoor pool, a field and a landscaped garden with magnolia and eucalyptus trees.

Ashford, with a population of around 1,500, is a 45-minute drive to the center of Dublin, making it a commuter community. Buses run to Dublin, while a train connects Dublin to the neighboring town of Wicklow, four miles away. Ashford has several restaurants and a small grocery store. Attractions include hunting, riding, cycling and the Mount Usher Gardens. Two schools are within walking distance of the house, and Dublin’s international airport is a 50-minute drive.

MARKET OVERVIEW

After a decade of rising prices that peaked in 2006 and hit bottom in 2012, the Irish real estate market is slowly recovering, said Keith Lowe, chief executive of Douglas Newman Good, a real estate agency in Ireland. The recovery has radiated from Dublin “like a ripple effect,” he said, first reaching the commuter areas around the city and then the rest of the country. Dublin property has increased in price by an average of 65 percent since 2012, but is still 44 percent below the peak. “I would think that property prices are much more in tune with people’s income and their ability to borrow,” Mr. Lowe said.

Still, the market is facing several issues, he added: Prices have risen faster than inflation; there is a housing shortage, because construction is not meeting demand; rents have risen sharply for several years in a row, limiting the purchasing power of potential home buyers; and the central bank has restricted credit.

In a report issued in early January by Daft, another Irish real estate agency, Ronan Lyons, an economist at Trinity College Dublin, estimated that Ireland needed between 40,000 and 50,000 new homes each year because of population growth and housing obsolescence. Instead, “for every ten new families formed,” he wrote, “just two new dwellings were built, for the entire period from 2011 to 2016.”

The government has taken some action to address those challenges, Mr. Lowe said. A new grant program for first-time buyers is intended to spur construction, and the central bank is starting to relax income requirements for those seeking mortgages.

Philip Guckian, the manager of the Dublin-based Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes, Farms & Estates, which has the listing, said luxury buyers were interested in historic homes in Dublin’s central neighborhoods, as well as the southern suburbs of Dalkey and Killiney. In County Wicklow, just south of Dublin, the draw was “value for money,” Mr. Guckian said. The entry point for luxury homes is around 750,000 euros ($810,000), compared with a million euros ($1.08 million) in Dublin.

WHO BUYS IN COUNTY WICKLOW

There has been a drop recently in the number of foreigners purchasing homes in Ireland, including in Dublin and its surroundings, Mr. Guckian said. “We are seeing the domestic buyer coming back more and more,” he added, citing the Brexit referendum and the resulting weakened pound, as well as uncertainty about American politics leading up to the 2016 presidential election, as causes. Recent foreign buyers have come from the United States, Britain, China, Japan and continental Europe, he said.

BUYING BASICS

Foreigners may purchase properties in Ireland effectively without restrictions, said Michael Walsh, a partner with ByrneWallace, a Dublin law firm. Each party retains its own attorney. The lawyer’s fee is typically less than 1 percent of the purchase price, and there is a value-added tax of 23 percent on that fee.

Closing costs paid by the buyer include a stamp duty (1 percent of the first million euros and 2 percent of everything over a million euros) paid on either the home’s market value or the purchase price, whichever is greater, Mr. Walsh said. The buyer also must pay a title registration fee, which does not exceed 800 euros, and public registry search fees for liabilities or issues including unpaid mortgages; those fees typically do not exceed 300 euros. Usually, the seller pays the real estate agent’s commission.

Mr. Walsh advised hiring a lawyer with sufficient professional indemnity insurance to cover the value of the acquisition.

WEBSITES

Dublin tourism: visitdublin.com

Wicklow tourism: visitwicklow.ie/towns-villages/ashford

LANGUAGES AND CURRENCY

Irish Gaelic, English; euro (one euro = $1.08)

TAXES AND FEES

For properties valued at more than a million euros ($1.08 million), the annual property tax is 1,800 euros ($1,944) and 0.25 percent of the excess value over a million euros, Mr. Walsh said.

The New York Times

Mufti of Syrian Regime’s Visit to Ireland Draws Ire of Opposition Figures

Grand Mufti of Syrian Regime Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun . Reuters

London- Ahmed Badreddine Hassoun arrived in Dublin on Tuesday as part of a religious delegation from the Syrian regime, drawing the ire of many of Ireland’s Muslims.

“He’s not welcome,” said Dr. Ali Salim, senior member of the Islamic Cultural Center of Ireland.

“This man is part of the regime in Syria and we see him as one of the war criminals that should be brought to justice,” he said.

“His hand has been stained with the blood of innocents in Syria and he is one of the people who shares responsibility for the killing and displacement of the Syrian people.”

Irish Times Newspaper said that Christian and Muslim leaders from Syria arrived in Ireland on Tuesday to lobby against European Union sanctions on the country.

“They will address the Oireachtas, the lower house of the Irish parliament, Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday morning. Afterwards, they will lay a wreath at the corner of Trinity College Dublin and Kildare Street to commemorate all victims of violence, in Dublin and Syria in particular,” the newspaper stated.

On Wednesday, the group will take part in a religious service in the chapel at Trinity, followed by a discussion with senior academics, politicians, medical personnel and members of the diplomatic corps on further initiatives to advance the Syrian peace process.

For its part, the Irish Syria Solidarity Movement (ISSM) has also condemned the Mufti’s visit and has asked the Irish police to arrest Hassoun for hate crimes.

“This terrorist should clearly not be let into the country, let alone inside the houses of the Oireachtas and shame on anyone who was involved in arranging the invitation to him,” the ISSM said in an open letter to the Oireachtas.

Charles Flanagan: ‘We are Concerned about Iranian Activity in the Region’

Charles Flanagan

Riyadh- Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan expressed his concern regarding Iranian activity in the region and its attempts to fuel conflicts.

He said that he met with former Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Larijani in Dublin as they discussed many issues, and he called Iran to adopt the political and diplomatic approach in order to boost security and stability in the region and stay away from strengthening a party against another.

Flanagan explained that Ireland’s policy lies in staying away from fueling conflicts and intervening in the internal affairs of other countries.

In his latest visit to Saudi Arabia, he said that these matters usually top the subjects of discussion in addition to the importance of enhancing political and diplomatic work to maintain stability and boost peace in the region.

Flanagan assured his country’s rejection for any kind of terrorism and violence, pointing out that Ireland condemns Houthi’s attempts to direct missiles toward Makkah and considers it real terrorist act that should be faced in different ways.

He said that Ireland’s foreign policy rejects terrorism in all its forms and stressed the need to reach attainable solutions to restore peace and stability in the region through holding talks, thus reaching political solutions.

He confirmed that the Kingdom is a pivotal state in the region and noted that Saudi-Irish relations are solid and Saudi Vision 2030 will make these relations even firmer.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat in Riyadh on Sunday, Flanagan confessed that Brexit had a clear impact on Ireland’s economy as it raised new challenges on strong economic ties and joint borders.

He said that Ireland is working with its partners in the United Kingdom and the European Union to address these challenges and guarantee that its exceptional situation is safe.

Therefore, official parties are working with Irish labor sector to help and manage Brexit results.

On the other hand, Flanagan explained that Saudi Arabia is his country’s largest trading partner in the Gulf region as they share a four decades business and many common interests since they also share similar visions in many issues of mutual interest.

He indicated that the Kingdom might become the best strategic partner for Ireland, noting that Dublin’s strategy aims at boosting relations with Riyadh.

He said that value of trade exchange between the two countries reached €1.5 billion in 2015.

Flanagan stated that there are around 3,000 Irish residents in Riyadh whereas there are 7,000 Saudis who travel every year to Ireland for tourism or education.

When asked about his assessment for the situations in Yemen and Syria and the role Ireland is playing in these two crises, Flanagan said that despite Ireland is an independent and small state, it plays a major role in these matters in order to reach a positive solution, especially that it is has been an active member in the United Nations for 66 years now.

He said that Ireland also operates under several U.N. umbrellas that take care of people’s lives and discusses solutions with many activists in the region, especially Saudi Arabia, which helps Ireland in delivering humanitarian aids to areas suffering from conflicts.

Flanagan discussed with a number of Saudi officials opportunities arising from the implementation of Vision 2030 for Ireland and Saudi Arabia that would result in stepped-up trade relations and is expected to redound to the benefit not only of the two countries, but also to their respective citizens as well.

Flanagan said that “Vision 2030 outlines a comprehensive and ambitious program to secure the future of Saudi Arabia.

It aims to build a more resilient domestic economy that is less reliant on oil export revenue.”

“Vision 2030, with its focus on privatization and the creation of a new economic base, presents real opportunities for Irish businesses,” Flanagan said.

He added that “in Ireland, we transitioned from an agrarian economy to a high-tech one and I expect there are lessons to be gleaned here from our experience.”