it is a word that has only come to light over previous years,and is generally used when a male does not want to become very well attached to another individual (another male) ,often heard in the workplace,a bar,a nightclub,on a street corner,a pool hall,anywhere really.
The word "mate" is used in a completley different way from its use in Austrailia and new Zealand,and also Great Britain,and is not to be confused.
(chiefly used in the north/south dublin area,and its leafy suburbs)
"ah not much happenin' here,look mate,id better head off,im up to me eyeballs in work,seeya mate"
"whats the story mate? what were you doin' slackin' off work??"
Man 2: I'm alright mate - hey mate, isn't that a mate of yours?