For 12 months starting 1st May 2001, the Irish government were
offering a Special Savings Incentive Account with various financial
institutions, in which they gave 25% over 5 years accruing monthly,
on top of what the institutions would give (around 5% p.a.). You can vary your
contributions monthly from around €10 to €250, and you essentially
lose all interest if you withdraw before full term.

There were around 289,000 accounts taken, so if everyone saves
the maximum, then there will be around €7B cash comming into
the Irish economy from the summer of 2006. It should be interesting
to watch the inflation figures around then. [Update: New figures
released on Aug 30th 2004 show there were 1.1 million accounts taken,
with the average payout being €13,637 giving a total of €15 billion
comming into the Irish economy]

Following is a graph of the effective annual interest given by the
government on top of the interest given by the financial institutions,
over the life of the policy and was graphed using gnuplot (with these commands).
In the last month for example you get 25% on your lodgement even though
you only have to invest it for 1 month. This equates to an
annual interest rate of 300%.

[Update: The Dec 4th 2002 budget did not restrict people increasing
contributions into their SSIA, so it will really pay to increase your
payments towards the end, if possible.]

[Update: Apr 2006] Searching for "SSIA" on the Department of finance website showed some
interesting results for when exactly the SSIA money will be released into the economy.
I've plotted this data below which shows at least that Ireland is a nation of procrastinators.
I don't know what percentage of people exactly have invested in equities, but I understand it's
significant, so I for one will not be buying anything on the Irish stock exchange early 2007.

Here are some nice gnuplot examples.
© May 9 2006