For the benefit of UK readers who'd be unfamiliar with Irish telcos...
Eircom were once Telecom Eireann, the national semistate phone company. They rebranded as Eircom before privatisation made them a "real" company. Their mobile subco, EirCell, was bought out entirely to become Vodafone, the first of four major mobile providers (O2, Three and Meteor would follow, Metoer being a subco of an american firm).
During privatisation, the Governemnt backed the value of the share issue, promising guaranteed returns, then failed to do so, leaving buyers holding quite a loss, bar Eircom staff, who got their shares free, which did value upwards eventually, leaving them very wealthy, and explaining part of the dislike for the company amongst Irish people. By and large, most people got stung by hype - and with shares, it's buyer beware. Unfortunately, thanks to the Fianna Fail government not meeting their pledge, lots of those stunbg were hedgfing money from retirement funds, or not well disposed to lose it.
Since privatisation, Eircom have become anecdotally known as the biggest block to broadband penetration in Ireland, followed closely by a lack of joined up thinking at any level in a technophobic government. Eircom are famously slow to unlock local loop bundles to new entrants, hamstringing commercial operators trying to get into the Irish market. They've made using other phone or ISP comapnies difficult, leading to soem exiting the market, or slowing down their ability to connect customers. Given the bad press already, the government stay out of it, instead leaving a toothless regulator to occasionally say "for shame". In a recent survey, Ireland came 28th out of 29 EU nations for broadband penetration, only beating Greece.
Note: Greece is a series of islands, incredibly hard to connect, whereas Ireland is a wealthy single-island nation in which it should be manageable.
Also of note, the same government is now trying to privatise electricity, with the effect that they have blocked new power stations being built by the semi-state, ESB (the electricity supply board) for ten years until this month. This meant we've been tapdancing around brown- and black-outs in winter every year, which could endanger out much needed foreign IT companies based here (we depend on generator buy-ins and the UK interconnectors instead). Also of note, the ESB built a large fibreobtic ring around it's transmission network to help with broadband, in figure of eight, including the least penetrated areas of the country - which the government has ignored for the last four years. While there have been commercial entrants to the market, so hopefuylly we've passed through the worst, there may have been damage done to the semistae if it doesn't work out. In the meantime, we've endangered our much vaunted IT investment form aborad by hampering supply of power and broadband penetration, all in the name of a mixture of 80's UK ideaology (that left the UK with such odd rail and health services) and EU privatisation, which is treated as one size fits all, despite the fact we're an island nation off the edge of the mainland.
hope that helps! :)