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Last week, I had to buy some heavy-duty extension leads and some other electrical bits and pieces to get our exhibition Design@UL working in the former Franciscan church in Limerick City. The prices were high in the local shop and when I inspected the gear, it was Made in China.

Last year, when I was in Germany on an artistic expedition, having to do similar purchases, it was half the price and the gear was Made in Germany. That’s both interesting and alarming, and probably explains a lot if you think about it.

Ballpoint pen Made in Germany

We need to change this!

Will there be a day in a not so distant future when I can walk into a shop in Ireland and most of the basic stuff is actually made here, Made in Ireland, by real people in a real economy?
In the meantime, we would all be better off if the stuff we buy is made in Europe.


  1. A very good point and question.
    It is a great pity and shame that we in Ireland, can’t produce products cheap enough to be competitiive with foreign products, manufacturing to a massive extent has left the island, this has been a history rather than just in recent times.
    I do try to buy Irish when I can but often I can’t Last year we bought a stove with a back boiler for the house, we wanted to go Irish and bought it from an Irish Manufactuer called Boru Stoves, we could have bought a Chinese made or British made one off the shelf but we decided on Irish. It took eight months for it to arrive as they were so busy making stoves that they were back logged and ours was litterally made to order. It is now in and we are delighted with it and very happy to recommend this Irish Company but you will have to wait! And the price while they are expensive was very competitive, something that seems rare to find these days on Irish made products. So they are a good example that it can, could or should be done.

  2. Germany is a country of some significant size, with actual natural resources (Useful stuff buried in the ground, as opposed to supposed resources of the “Children are our greatest natural resource” variety… True or not, they’re absolutely crappy at both conduction and insulation, so it’s damn hard to make a functional cable out of them).

    Ireland is numerically a very small city’s population, occupying a land area best described as “an oversize city center park” whose prime natural resources are a few peat bogs, that no-one allowed to harvest from anymore.

    Even if we did (for some unknowable reason) start up large scale industrial manufacturing we’d still have to work with imported materials, and probably imported energy, making the final result more expensive to buy as well as destructive to our environment.

    • There are quite a lot of natural resources in Ireland. Regarding metal, there’s plenty of zink, quite a lot of copper. The trick is not to give it away. Same with resources such as natural gas. We have the best wind quality in Europe, and wave and tidal energy potentials are still untapped. I’ve seen a few ridiculous prototypes – design and made by enthusiasts, but if we were serious we would use our best scientists and engineers to get this going.

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