Outside dining FTW.
You can only see a partial solar eclipse from here but I was excited to see it.
If you live in the EU and bought cheap goods from China or anywhere outside the EU you may have been surprised when you didn’t have to pay customs duties or VAT on the product.
To be honest, the extra payment required by An Post/a third party carrier to pay for more expensive goods is probably what surprised most people buying from outside the European Union. That can be €10 to €15 or more.
Well, from July 1st you may have to pay that fee regardless of how much the goods you bought are. If you’re looking for a cheap phone case, or book or whatever from the UK you better do it ASAP because if it’s delivered here (Ireland or elsewhere in the EU) after July 1st you’ll end up paying extra.
The Irish Revenue website has a page explaining how it works and it’s not pretty.
From 1 July 2021, import VAT will be payable on all goods entering the EU, irrespective of their value. VAT will always be collected, irrespective of the amount due. If you order goods valued at €22 or less before 1 July 2021, that arrive after that date, you may have to pay VAT.
Here’s an RTÉ article on the change.
The revenue.ie page does not mention that non-EU sellers can charge VAT at point-of-sale. A paragraph on this page explains how this works:
The EU has therefore agreed to scrap the import VAT exempt threshold. Instead, it will require EU and non-EU sellers to charge VAT at the point of sale for consignments of €150 or below. This will create a more efficient ‘Green Channel’, with quick and easy customs clearance. Note – the delivery agent may still act as the import VAT collector (see below).
Sellers will charge VAT at the rate of their customer’s EU country of residence at the point-of-sale on the website. Sellers can use the delivery address of the customer to determine the country VAT rate. No VAT is due at the point of import in this case.
This already happens for digital sales, such as those for games and software.
I suspect this change to the VAT rate will also apply to UK magazine subscriptions since periodicals are charged(PDF) 9% VAT in Ireland while they are 0% in the UK. If that’s the case it’s not worth it (An Post will charge €10 to deliver a magazine worth let’s say €6.) unless the seller is registered in the EU and charges VAT on the subscription.
This is a gravestone in the graveyard of St. James’s Church in Durrus, Sheep’s Head as pictured in 2014. Ted died well before his time at a young age and I have no idea who he was but to judge by his final message he must have been an interesting character.
I came across this after posting today’s photo of this church in Durrus on my photoblog.
I’ll say it now before I get used to it.
Seeing a customs declaration on a package from the UK is really weird, and disappointing. #brexit
In the last 24 hours just over 50% of the electricity generated in Ireland came from renewables. We even exported 4% of our electricity.
Of course the wind isn’t blowing this hard every day, or it’s blowing too hard, and over the course of the last month the portion of renewable energy drops to 39%.
All this information is available on the Eirgrid Smart Grid Dashboard. Lots of information there including a log of wind speeds you can download, interconnection graphs showing our imports and exports of electricity from the UK and CO2 intensity & emissions data too. You can compare CO2 intensity against other parameters such as wind generation. The last few days have been very windy.
For more energy statistics take a look at the transport page on the SEAI website.
The amount of petrol consumed in Ireland reduced by more than half between 2007 and 2018 as a result of the shift to diesel cars. The increase in diesel use for private cars was offset by lower diesel use in freight. Diesel use was 12% higher in 2018 than 2007.
Renewable transport fuels have grown from a low base to over 3% of transport final energy use in 2018. This is almost all from biofuels blended with petrol and diesel. Electricity remained at just 0.1% of transport final energy demand in 2018. Most of this was from Luas and DART, but electric vehicles are growing strongly from a low base.
Accents, everyone has one but some characters have more than one, and writing them on a Mac can be hard unless you know how.
I really only need one type of accent, the “sine fada” in Irish that goes over the vowels. They look like this: á, é, ó, ú and í.
For a long time I used Option-key using an Irish keyboard map I got off Justin Mason years ago. I haven’t used it for some time now and every now and again I wonder if there’s a better way of doing it using the standard keyboard maps on a Mac.
Turns out there is.
This page explains how to use the accent menu, but you can also use “dead keys” to type accents.
The accent menu is dead simple. Press the key down for a little longer than usual and a menu will appear with the accents required. Press the corresponding number and your accented character appears!
The dead key approach is probably faster however. Use the keyboard viewer to see your keyboard layout. I have a large split Microsoft keyboard and I’m using the British PC layout now so when I hit the Option key the accents are highlighted.
If I want to type “I like to eat cake” in Irish, and not “I like to eat shit”, I must use “Option-e” followed by “a” to get “á” in one word:
“Is maith liom cáca a ithe.”
I’m sure by now you’ve realised just how important accents are in daily life. It’s the difference between delicious chocolate and something that looks similar but tastes quite different. Yeah, you really needed that mental image didn’t you? Sorry. 🙂
I can’t imagine going into a restaurant or pub for a long time still. The lockdown in Ireland has managed to reduce the infection rate of Covid19 in the country dramatically compared to levels last month but it hasn’t gone away.
Unfortunately the lockdown itself has decimated many businesses and put medical procedures on hold that would normally happen. I hope people take more seriously the advice to wear masks in busy public areas so we can avoid another lockdown in January but it’s almost guaranteed we’ll have another one in the new year. 🙁
Posted on Reddit today.
If you go along to the Transport Infrastructure Ireland website right now you’ll find a map of Ireland with lots of green dots.
These are the locations of cameras recording the volume of traffic on the road. It’s been interesting looking at some of the roads around Cork during the last year. Here are a few charts of traffic on the N20 between Blarney and Cork.
The Covid-19 Lockdown bit in March. Schools closed on March 12th, pubs closed soon after. Most people who could were working from home. It made a big difference to daily traffic into Cork. From a high of 1200 vehicles in January to 400 in April.
How does this compare to last year? Here are the charts for July and August 2019.
It’s interesting to see those charts. The lockdown caused a huge drop in traffic as expected. Emissions from cars were down this year of course but agriculture remained the same so our impact on the environment didn’t change much. It’ll probably be worse as people use their cars rather than take public transport.
Out of curiosity I looked at the traffic volume going into Dingle from the Inch Strand side of the peninsula for July this year and last year. There wasn’t much of a change. 500 cars a day passed there in 2020 while only an extra 100 cars made the journey in 2019. They’ll be happy about that in Dingle!
Along with what seemed like a large portion of the country I stayed in Dingle recently. The town was packed. We stayed in a B&B on the edge of town and every day around noon the road outside was a traffic jam of cars snaking through the town. Most people wore masks in the shops but of course there were a few rat lickers too.
I did notice that a lot of people had several empty pint glasses on their tables, and while they may have eaten a €9 meal there was no sign of food. I spotted a happy young couple cross the road with plastic glasses of beer and sit down by the statue of Fungi. It was upsetting given what’s happening with Covid-19.
Now we’re in lockdown again. It’s not the same lockdown we experienced from March onwards but people became lax, and the virus made it’s way into factories. Multiple outbreaks in meat processing plants locked down 3 counties last week. Yesterday the news nationally wasn’t good:
- 1 death and 190 cases confirmed.
- 76 are men and 111 are women
- 75% are under 45 years of age
- 75 are confirmed to be associated with outbreaks or are close contacts of a confirmed case
- 14 cases have been identified as community transmission
- 48 are in Kildare, 46 in Dublin, 38 in Tipperary, 20 in Limerick, 7 in Clare and the rest of the 31 cases are in Carlow, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.
And so the restrictions:
- All outdoor events will be limited to 15 people, down from 200, under strict new limits on public gatherings agreed this afternoon.
- Under the restrictions that will remain in place until 13 September at the earliest, indoor events will be limited to six people, reduced from 50, except for businesses such as shops and restaurants, which are subject to separate rules.
- Weddings will be exempt from the new restrictions, meaning they can go ahead with 50 people.
- The measures agreed by Cabinet will mean that matches and other sporting fixtures will have to take place behind closed doors.
- Gardaí will be given new powers to enforce rules around social gatherings, particularly in restaurants or bars serving food, and in private homes.
- Under the measures agreed by Cabinet, people will be advised to work from home and to avoid using public transport, unless absolutely necessary.
Which leads some to say the GAA should encourage weddings at their matches so 50 people can watch.
Still confused, here’s a clear explanation.
These graphs are not good are they?
Schools open soon. Hopefully we can reduce the community spread or we’ll be closing schools within a month.
Oh yes, watch out for Storm Ellen tonight. There’s a status red warning for Cork!