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The Irish banks were complicit in the crash of the Celtic Tiger, particularly for making loans that customers could not afford and for various machinations, some corrupt, most of the rest at best questionable. By Canadian standards they were very badly run and tainted drawers from Ireland's incestuous pool of corporate directors. Bailing them out, especially because the government of the day assumed their debt as sovereign debt, has imposed an enormous burden on the Irish taxpayer.

That said, it is essential to have a bank account in Ireland, but opening one is not always easy. Also, since charges vary from bank to bank, one should shop around.

To combat money laundering and to comply with the Criminal Justice Act 1994, financial institutions in Ireland must satisfy themselves as to the true identity of their customers. This is done through documents evidencing your name and address.

A current valid passport or driver's licence or a current photo ID card issued by a known employer, known third-level college or the police (Garda Siochana), will fulfill the name requirement. (Remember to get your international driver's licence - good for a year - before you leave Canada.)

A current driver's licence, Garda-issued photo ID card and a recent household utility bill are the usual proofs of current address. If you are responsible for paying for your utilities, a bank account is usually required to arrange for them, in which case you may have a 'catch-22' situation to overcome!

If you don't have the documentation outlined above, a copy of your lease may do the trick. Also, if you are employed, your employer's bank will probably accept a letter from your employer. A letter from your accountant, lawyer or tax advisor will probably be similarly accepted. The letter should state your name, date of birth, and your Personal Public Service (PPS) number (see MAKING THE MOVE).

Another hurdle to opening a bank account is that the branch you want to bank at may not open accounts when it is convenient for you. Instead, it may do so only on certain days of the week and, on the days it does, it may not do so during the lunch hour, the most convenient time for most people, because the bank is too busy then!

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