Niall, you have been here a few years. Do you feel yourself to be part of the Irish Community, is there an Irish Community?
Yes, there is an Irish community here. Itâs quite small, but tightly knit. We tend to go out quite a lot together.
What do you do apart from, may I say, imbuing alcohol beverages?
It would be incorrect to say that we donât spend time drinking together. There are all the Balls that we organise, all the sporting occasions and charity events. Then there is Katie OâSheaâs and Katie OâSheaâs, which is very convenient as its just next to the embassy, and we go out to dinner quite a lot as well with Irish friends and colleagues.
Are there more Irish expats here now than there were a few years ago?
Itâs hard to tell. Thereâs the same old guard, and quite a few young guys here now who I donât know, but in all there seem to be more people here than there were seven or eight ears ago.
Is the general situation affecting the Irish community?
I donât think itâs really affecting the Irish community in any particularly negative way, any more than it is affecting any other national group, in fact I think that the Russians and the Irish tend to get on well together. Having said that; working in a bank I am exposed to all the volatilities in the markets. Over the past 8 years, I had been hoping that the economy would be pulled away from depending on oil revenues quite so much, but that really hasnât happened. So we are susceptible to any market jumps, which happen quite regularly; about every 5 years.
Are you thinking of moving on?
I donât know; my contract seems to be being renewed year on year. Iâm happy here, and my family is happy here, which is the main thing. So Iâm not in any rush to leave.
How long have you been in Russia, why did you come?
I arrived as a tourist a few times in 2006 & early 2007 after meeting a Russian beauty in October 2005 while on holidays in Vietnam. I came to live here in October 2007 to be with Olga & we got married in 2009. So ultimately, I came to Russia for love.
Do you feel that there is an Irish community here? In what ways?
After attending a number of Irish Club and embassy events when I first arrived, I met some Irish people. I feel there is a community here for me. Iâve a few close Irish friends and, when Moscowâs crazy pace allows, we meet up. The Club organizes some very well attended events during the year, which are super opportunities for people to unwind and catch up.
How is the Irish community shaping up to the situation we are in?
In the current unpredictable economic climate, Iâve personally not felt much of a difference. I know some have found it a challenge but if we weather the storm, weâll get to calmer waters all going well.