The question is to know if the sharing economy has been introduced in the Irish society. To answer that, I listed the different sharing website used and their usage and interviewed three users of this type of websites.
Ireland counts lots of websites and platforms corresponding to the definition of the sharing economy or « collaborative consumption ». Some are internationally represented such as Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Twitter, Homelink… But some others are exclusively Irish for now. All those platforms allow selling particularly new and second hand goods, to rent cars and accommodations or even lend bikes.
The sharing economy is defined as the optimization of goods usage. It is necessary to make profitable the acquisition of a good by renting it or lending/selling it, while or when it is not useful anymore. This transaction can be permanent or temporary. As an example: when car sharing, the principle is to temporary rent an unused sit of the car. On the contrary, the resale of an old object is permanent and definitive.
Irish people integrated the sharing economy to their life style, as the three interviews showed. The share of their accommodation with other flatmates by flat sharing or by renting an available room of the house/apartment is a normal habit for them. This is also the object of a very flourishing business. Flatmates search websites are extremely used and only rely on agreement between two private individuals. Owners will sometimes try to optimize their house in order to include an available zone for rent, to generate additional revenues thanks to Daft.ie, Rent.ie, Airbnb and Bed and Breakfast (B&B)
Some people even exchange their house thanks to websites such as Homelink. They accept to leave in the house of someone else for a fixed period of holidays, while the owner of the house live in yours. Those agreements allow travelling and having a cheap and comfortable stay in a location, without having to pay for a rent. Some families/persons even exchange their cars. Once again, Irish people optimize the utilisation of their house, and decide to take advantage of the fact that the house will be unused for the duration of their trip.
One other automatic reflex for an Irish is the share of transports. Just a few Dubliners own a car and the vehicle leasing is very common way to travel outside of the capital. A great majority of Irish people also prefer public transport to a personal car. For a short distance, bicycle and walk also are prioritized. The Green Bikes systems and the Dublin Bikes allow renting bikes.
The cost of life and transports is quite high, which is why those solutions came out, allowing users to save money and have access to one service without having to own the objet giving the service (example of car sharing). The sharing economy in Dublin is written in the friendly and welcoming culture that characterizes so well the Irish population.
In the same spirit, the inhabitants rather like to use second hand goods’ buying websites. They also agree on social networks in order to obtain cheaper goods that have often been already used previously. The most used websites, according to the 3 interviews, seem to be Facebook, Amazon et advert.ie. Those platforms allow one of the interlocutors to get rid of an object that isn’t useful to him anymore in exchange of another object or a sum of money predetermined by a common agreement. The buyer will benefit from a cheap and reliable object, less expensive than in a shop. The three interviews also showed that this method was considered as more convivial, simple and fast.
In conclusion, Ireland is a country relying on the sharing economy, which has a great presence. Certain habits aren’t really different from the rest of Europe such as the utilisation of Airbnb, Amazon and eBay. Ireland however managed to set up special and personalized sharing solution for its situation: housing crisis and incomplete coverage of transport network. Home sharing websites and the principle of home sharing itself is now a part of the Irish culture, as for the share of bikes, the walk and the car renting.