In a stunningly simple move, the Republic has banned the use of mobile phones while driving, except for dialing 999 or 112 for an emergency.
Fines of up to €60, plus 2 penalty points are assessed for Irish drivers violating the phone law. Visitors are responsible for all their own traffic tickets and fines.
Even using Bluetooth or other hands-free methods can lead to a fine if Gardai determine that it’s caused you to drive recklessly. A mobile in your pocket cannot be switched on, but it can be if in the glove box; passengers are allowed to use a cellphone while you are driving.
The rationale (so rational, why didn’t the U.S. think of it?) is that any kind of phone communication is distracting to a driver and can cause accidents. Their suggested solution is to pull over to the roadside to make or take a call. As for texting, fuggedaboutit.