You know the Irish Economy is hurting when …

You know the Irish Economy is hurting when Sainsbury’s Supermarket in Newry (in Northern Ireland) has to close it’s doors at 7.30pm on a Saturday due to too many shoppers from the south trying to get in.

For those of you that don’t understand the above line: It’s unusual for an island as small as Ireland to be blessed / cursed with an international border running through the middle. Bad for politics , good for shoppers as it’s much cheaper to travel from the southern part (in the Euro zone) to the northern bit (where they use Sterling) to save up to half on your weekly grocery bill.

Travel to Sainsbury’s supermarket in Newry on the last Saturday before Christmas and you’ll see something just short of a riot as southern punters fight over the last bottle of (cheap) beer. But they’ve never closed the door due to too many people before – which is what happened last Saturday evening. Even more unusual in that June / July are normally very quiet months for shopping in the North.

Now discuss (in less than 100 words): Did this happen because …

  1. Irish people are fed up with rip off prices in Dublin and are finally voting with their feet?
  2. There’s a lot of hidden pain out there – people with no money but desperate to ‘keep up appearances’?
  3. Both of the above


  1. I find it particularly “amusing” when our politicians are urging pay restraint while voicing their concern when we try to get better value for our money.

    I’m not convinced of the real savings of going North but it’s indicative of a frustration and concern that’s out there.

  2. Piaras,

    If you think that is funny , just wait until the next round of national pay negotiations đŸ™‚

    Must get the receipts for an average food shop, scan them, then put them online – I reckon the Northern bill is about 30% less. And that’s without buying any alcohol.

    Of course, bit more of a no-brainer from Drogheda (30 mins to cross the border) than Dublin (at least 1hr, or more depending if you live north or south of the Liffey). But a *lot* of people are doing it.


  3. Piaras : There are definetely significant savings to be had up north – especially on bigger ticket items (and alcohol). Always worth doing a little bit of research first though.

    Paul – I remember something similar happening one Christmas, but I’m pretty sure that level of activity is unheard of for this time of year. Sainsbury’s in Newry is apparently the most profitable supermarket in the UK.

  4. an even cheaper option would be ‘no beer’…but in Ireland, it is inconceivable that people would be able to think along this option….

  5. You’re more right than you think – a survey released last week (must dig our the source) show’s that Ireland spends more on Alchol than food.

    Put’s our moaning about the high price of groceries at Tesco into perspective …

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