The Year 2000 is here


Congratulations to the ESB, Eircom, RTE, and the hospitals, banks and other engineering and IT teams who kept things running over the rollover. All their precautions paid off.

There are three waves of Y2K problems, relating to the future, the present, and the past. The first wave of Y2K Future was handled as look-ahead systems hit the 2000 date. In many cases, the lead time was enough to handle problems as they arose. Y2K Present began on 1-1-2000 with the rollover of embedded systems. That will become more important in the first month as most IT systems are restarted as companies go back to work. Y2K Past will finally affect people as dates are handled across 1999 to 2000 for debtor ageing and the like. This may affect batch and end-of-month operations.

The top ten most common things said after Y2K

  1. "What problem?"
  2. "We were right all along"
  3. "I thought they had fixed that"
  4. "Who would have thought that could have gone wrong?"
  5. "You'd have thought a big company like that would have known better"
  6. "Never heard of that one before"
  7. "It wasn't that serious, just a glitch"
  8. "Sorry, it's not covered under warranty"
  9. "It'll be fixed real soon now"
  10. "Who's going to pay for this?"
Y2K Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

World Y2K News reports

Y2K News in Ireland

Y2K News in Europe generally updated 12 Dec 1999

Please read the disclaimer


Looking for more information on the Year 2000 problem? Read one of Patrick O'Beirne's articles first. This is an archive of all the articles written for "Irish Computer" magazine and other publications from April 1997 to the end of the series in February 2000.


WHAT DO WE DO NOW?!! - Last minute tips from Action 2000 as a 70K Word document.

The FAQ for Year 2000 and spreadsheets - specifically EXCEL.

The FAQ "Is there a web site dealing with..." Compliance lists and help for small businesses. Updated May 1999.

World Y2K Reports

Reports of bug incidents can be read at:

Peter de Jager's Year 2000 information site is now being sold (

Rob Harmer of PC Profile is keeping his pages online at "These are our favourite links, which might also assist your organisation with matters relating toYear 2000, Euro2000, Anti-Piracy, Auditing, Accounting Matters and Anti-Virus. "


Y2K News in Ireland

The Y2K LIST FOR IRELAND is now archived at:

National Survey of Business Response

A Four Cycle Survey of the Response of Irish enterprises to the Year 2000 Problem.   The first cycle was March 1999.  The second cycle in July 1999, shows little improvement. The third cycle in September 1999 shows no difference.

When presented with a statement that the software industry and/or 'someone' would come up with a solution, almost three times as many Irish companies as their UK counterparts agreed. This would suggest that Irish companies may be considerably more na´ve in relation to the issue than their UK counterparts.

At a press briefing on May 5th, Ronan Tynan of Esperanza correctly pointed out that the low SME action found in the survey was the "chickens coming home to roost" of our low-budget Y2K campaign compared proportionately to the UK's Action 2000.

Report of Irish Parliament Joint Committee on Enterprise and Small Business hearings on Y2K and SMEs including my submission on contingency planning.

IBEC Year 2000 Infrastructure Conference April 20  1999 "An update on Key Suppliers' Y2K Preparedness". Covers Electricity, Gas, Oil, Transport, Telecoms, etc. My report is at

A good way to keep in touch with Y2K news in Ireland is to visit the Irish Times web page at
and search the archive for "Y2K" or "Year 2000"

March 1999: The Government web site is now open. Information will be added over the next months.
Summary of Irish Government Year 2000 activities
Private Sector Issues and Initiatives
Links to reports on activities in Government Departments, Offices, and Agencies
Links to international Government Year 2000 information

January 1999: Safety Implications of the Year 2000 bug. Report on a NIFAST seminar in association with the Health & Safety Authority.

Y2K Helpline

18 December 1998 : Enterprise Ireland announces a Y2K Helpline at 1850 57 2000. You can phone them from anywhere in Ireland for the cost of a local call. They have an information pack and a directory of Y2K solution providers in Ireland. They will have experts on call to help answer specific questions. A web site will be available at including a set of SME case studies carried out among Irish Businesses by Patrick O'Beirne.

Infrastructure Survey

The Sunday Business Post of 6 December 1998 had a "Computers in Business" supplement. There is a 12 page report from Martyn Emery of Corporation 2000 on Dublin's preparedness. Their website is The editor John Dunne describes it as "one of the most important studies on the subject to date in this country". Was it government sponsored? No. It was produced in association with Val Keating & Associates, Chartered Accountants, and sponsored by the Sunday Business Post, ITL Netsource, Access Communications Group and Irish Estates. Congratulations to them for their civic spirit.  Copies are available for ú30 (c. $45) from Val Keating & Associates, Saint James Court, 7 Saint James Terrace, Malahide. Co. Dublin. Tel 01 845 2311 Fax 01 845 3104 email


  • Electricity supply board : exceptionally well run project, one of the best of the power utilities.
  • Telecommunications: low risk, comparable to Sweden, Denmark, Norway.
  • Water: Lack of "problem ownership", no evidence of contingency plans.
  • Natural Gas: low risk, but no contingency given the nature of the industry.
  • Oil: Irish National Petroleum Corporation telephone no. is ex-directory, would only say a y2k project was enabled.
  • Coal: imported from South Africa and South America.
  • Air Traffic: Irish Aviation Authority very positive and proactive. Aer Lingus considerable resources, managed very professionally.
  • Sea Traffic: requires a much higher focus.
  • Roads: authorities well advanced.
  • Rail: information too superficial, but old stock (40 yrs! - POB) and rail system set up before embedded systems made.
  • Central Government: well graded by Gartner.
  • Hospitals: practical approach; "an element of realism the norm". Contingency planning now for stocks of drugs.
  • Broadcasting: comprehensive programme well in place.

In conclusion, Ireland may well be offering a Y2K safe haven for companies (e.g. German companies....) wishing to locate here.

National Conference 9 Sep 1998

Agenda of the conference and my Call to Action for the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Mr. Bertie Ahern.

Department of Enterprise & Employment Guide to Year 2000

Y2K as Gaeilge

Muintearas ThÝr Chonaill (an educational facilitator) has a website more easily remembered as within which there is a Y2k-Millennium-Timebomb link.

National preparedness

The Y2K Problem: Response to European Commission by Ireland (PDF) 24 June 1998
"The European Commission asked all Member States to contribute to a report about their Year 2000 readiness. The Irish contribution is exemplary in its breadth and clarity. " It includes critical sectors of infrastructure such as Aviation, Communications, Energy, Health, Transport.
Note how most of the completion dates were December 1998. Now read the IBEC report above for the revisions to June 1999.

Call for Action 11 May 1998 to the Year 2000 Minister in Ireland, Mr. Noel Treacy. I ask for a national infrastructure review and contingency planning. I put forward proposals for small business assistance.

A good source of weekly news is the Irish Times Finance and Technology pages - see the archive at

2000 Aware  Survey in Ireland November 1997 showed that over half  of the finance directors surveyed do not have a Y2K budget and 28% have problems locating source code.

Transcript of Parliamentary question Oct 14 1997 on the Irish Government's response to Y2K.

Y2K in Europe
The EU Programme for the Information Society (ISPO) has a Web site concerning the IT impact of the Year 2000 and of the European Monetary Union at:

Updated 10 Dec:
Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of Regions on EU Infrastructures and the Y2000 Computer Problem - Q3 1999, COM(1999)651, 6 December 1999 PDF versions in all languages - requires Acrobat Reader 3.0

This has an appendix with a list of hundreds of web sites for Y2K information on infrastructure readiness in Europe.



Gerhard Knolmayer of the University of Berne, Switzerland, has published a presentation on The state of solving the Y2K problem in Europe. Note: this is a 318K .PDF file that requires version 3 or later of Acrobat Reader, earlier versions cannot read it.

Capers Jones of Software Productivity Research (SPR) has published papers on the severity of the Y2K problem. Unlike most alarmists, he supports his arguments with metrics from his client companies. The following files are in Word 6 format. Right-click on the link to download them, or select the ZIP archive with both together.
How serious is the year 2000 software problem? (y2ksev.doc 64K) Predicts that 15% of US applications will not be converted in time.
Resource conflicts between the year 2000 and euro-currency software problems (eurocurr.doc 33K) Predicts that 35% of European applications will not be converted in time and calls for delay in EMU.
Both articles, zipped ( 34K)

Jan 1998: Capers Jones' Rules of Thumb for Estimating Year 2000 and euro projects 39K ZIP of a 182K Word document.. I don't believe that the euro conversion task is as big as he suggests. For the majority of companies, there is a three year transition period, currency conversion only accounts for 1 or 2 FP per application, and low-impact strategies are possible. (I cover this in my "euro IT conversion" presentations). But for companies in financial services, there are serious implications. See the FISD conference at

For more information on the European single currency (euro) project of  Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), see our EMU web page.

Irish Computer Society Y2K & EURO SIG

This SIG (Special Interest Group) of the ICS has disbanded. The ICS web site is


Systems Modelling Ltd. has been providing software development, consulting, and training services to end users and IT professionals since 1981. Our Software Quality Management training can equip you to tackle complex software problems in a disciplined fashion.

We have a list of  Y2K issues in Xbase  languages and there's our Clipper data & code scanning tool for those of you still discovering them!

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Patrick O'Beirne, Systems Modelling Ltd. 1998-2000
Tel. 055-22294 Fax 055-22297