Writing in The Irish Times this week, Conor Pope reflects on how Christmas in Ireland has morphed from a time of religious significance into an event dominated by “rampant consumerism”. Citing a number of surveys and research, including a recent forecast by Retail Ireland which expects Irish spending in December to be around €4.05bn (a 3.5% increase on last year), Pope writes that there doesn’t seem to be any other country that can match the Irish for their Christmas spending.
Following on from that good news (for retailers), the Irish Examiner considers the charitable side of Christmas, and how people can both spend and make a difference to people’s lives this festive season. Ranging from supporting the St Vincent de Paul annual appeal to setting up an ongoing donation with Action Aid, there are plenty of ways to help. The paper is also getting in on the act – for every copy sold this Saturday (December 12th) 20c will be donated to Focus Ireland and St Vincent de Paul.
Finally, Irish consumers are set to be given more choice in the lucrative television package market, following eir’s takeover of Setanta Sports, pending the approval of both the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. With eir able to offer a wide range of sports coverage via Setanta Sports and BT’s Irish rights, pressure will be placed on the country’s two main players, Virgin Media and Sky, the latter of which has recently increased basic TV prices by 2.7%.