October 3, 2007

Ireland's future depends on diaspora's 'soft power'

Posted in Celtic Tiger · 23 comments ·
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You were a crap player and you are a crap manager. The only reason I have any dealings with you is that somehow you are the manager of my country and you’re not even Irish, you English c**t.”

Allegedly, with that parting shot, Roy Keane walked out of the Irish team at Saipan in 2002.

But Roy had used the word that can never be spoken in polite society. He used the E-word. He called Mick McCarthy ‘English’ and in so doing, opened up the debate about what constitutes an Irishman.

Is it enough to have Irish blood or do you have to be born here? What about those who live in an Irish area of Queens or London, have Irish parents and relations, feel themselves to be Irish, sing ‘The Fields of Athenry’ yet sound Scouse, Bostonian, Cape-Townian, Cockney or Canadian?

Is the Diaspora truly Irish? Have we, the Irish born here, forgotten that these people are the Irish footprint around the world?

The best Irish football teams, the most successful ones, were those in the Charlton era who represented a widest-possible definition of Irishness. At the time many soccer commentators lamented the fact that there were so many of what was termed derogatorily ‘PlasticPaddies’ on the team.

But these men were the demographic echo of the 500,000 Irish emigrants who left for Britain from 1949-1961. The Kevin Sheedys, Ray Houghtons and John Sheridans were the sons of men and women who were driven out by de Valera’s economic nationalism. They pulled on the jersey and, as far as we were concerned, they were as Irish as anyone else

The sons of exiles added enormously to the potential of the team, giving it options and talents that we would not otherwise have had. This was a post-nationalist, national soccer team, the very essence of globalisation.

Now think about the potential economic impact of the Irish Diaspora. This is one thing we have that so few other countries have. This is our biggest and most unique resource and yet we don’t appreciate its value.

The key to economic success in the future is to invest in people and brain power rather than property. In the years ahead the countries with the best networks, contacts and brains will win. This is termed “soft power” and the key to soft power is people.

In the Diaspora we not only have the people, but we have a ready made global network of talent. It is before our very eyes and yet we don’t see it.

So for example, JFK — the most famous Irish-American of all — would not be eligible for an Irish passport under our present laws. This makes no economic or historical sense.

Many of us are, if not hostile, not particularly welcoming to the exiles but all our great-grandparents are from the same root. And as Jack Charlton revealed they are our secret weapon.

Now, four generations after the Famine, it could well be that the history and culture of the Irish people, one of the world’s great clans, is about to fuse with the demands of the Irish State to ensure that we remain one of the world’s most successful economic jurisdictions. This is the next part of the Irish story: a 21st-century economic narrative conceived in the demographics of 19th-century emigration.

Sheila and Eileen Geoghegan turned up at the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires in 2002, just months after the collapse of the Argentinian economy. The sisters, aged 18 and 20, wanted to claim Irish citizenship through their great-grandparents. They wanted to come home.

Sheila and Eileen have Irish blood on both sides going back to their eight great-grandparents. As far as they are concerned, Ireland is their homeland. They can trace their ancestors back to Co Westmeath. English is their first language. They were taught by Irish nuns and priests. Their parents still speak with Midlands accents. They are part of a 500,000-strong Irish Argentinian population.

Yet these sisters were refused entry visas. They were one generation too late. Had their grandparents been born here, they would have qualified, but as their grandmother, Mabel Ryan, who speaks with a flat Mullingar accent, was born in Argentina, the family were not Irish enough.

We refused entry to two young women, educated, sophisticated, willing to work, with invaluable ties to Latin America, fluent in the second-most-widespread language in the world and, most crucially, committed emotionally to Ireland. If brain power is soft power, then surely this refusal makes no sense.

These are the people who keep the Irish flag flying in the remotest parts of the world, the people who suffered most under our colonial past, who sent money home to Ireland when we hadn’t a bean and who took other destitute Irish into their communities when wave after wave arrived on the docks in Argentina. They are emotionally drawn to us, they are our history and yet modern Ireland gives them the cold shoulder.

It is time to see the island of Ireland in the 21st century as the cradle of a global nation.

This nation extends all over the world, gelled together by the shared experience of previous generations.

We should institute a “right of return” policy and extend citizenship to people of Irish decent, extending beyond the present cut off point of two generations.

This would create a strong bond between the tribe and the mother country. The exiles could boost our labour force and in the new, soft world, their brains are invaluable.

There is a feather-light economic army of grey matter and these people could be at our disposal. All we have to do is imagine a New Hibernia.

It is time now to focus on the future rather than our endemic obsession with the next few months. We need, once more, to re-imagine Ireland and to use all the resources at our disposal to take advantage of the new globalised world.

In a sense, we need a post-nationalist, national project.

Not only does embracing the Diaspora make sense from a future economic perspective, it is also the right thing to do.

For years Ireland survived on emigrants’ remittances. The Irish balance-of-payments figures in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and into the late-1960s, reveal that the cash inflow from emigrants sending money home kept this country afloat. It is only right that we repay the children of these people who gave so much to us while in exile. In addition, embracing the prodigal sons would be a true sign of Irish economic success and maturity.

As the returning Jews have done in Israel — who extend citizenship to every Jewish person around the world — the returning Irish exiles would inject vibrancy and enthusiasm into both our contemporary and traditional culture while at the same time opening up economic opportunities all over the world.

Anything that makes the tribe stronger makes the homeland stronger. In time the relationship becomes symbiotic.

Internationally, we would be pushing on an open door because, unlike the Israelis, we have no enemies. We are neutral, we didn’t take anyone’s land and we didn’t invade anyone’s country.

Who could object to the Irish State seeking to look after the global Irish tribe who supported us for so long? This idea threatens no-one. Our present EU commitments mean that the door would still be open to European workers. It is not an “either/or idea”.

If we do this, globalisation could be the golden era of the Irish. We can turn our historical defeat into a future victory.


  1. Cathal Dunne

    Do you envisage a Celtic Tiger Mark 3 as a result of this move? If the benefits are that immense, we surely will experience far higher rates of economic growth and development as this ‘soft power’ makes its presence felt?

  2. Seamus Wall

    David excellent points raised here, I thought about how the government could be compelled to do something more; In the Good Friday agreement Article two talks about “chersishing the special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad”. taking into consideration the constitutional amendment made a while back is it not time for another amendment which would have the effect of widening citizenship?

  3. Kevin

    Extending Irish citizenship in this way could become a gapping back door for millions to enter the EU. Why not create a points-based working visa system in which those of Irish descent would be given preferential treatment? If they stay long enough, they will be able to become Irish citizens through normal naturalization avenues anyway.

  4. shtove

    I think Italy grants dual citizenship to Argentinians. That’s why Italy’s rugby team has done fairly well!

  5. Joe

    David,

    You seem to be deliberately coy about how you envision all of this working. The ideas you put forward about immigration and co-option of the Diaspora are very interesting, but the implication in your writing is that we need to curtail immigration from Eastern Europe and beyond, and take complete control over our immigration policy. There is no other way to achieve this other than withdrawing from the EU. You do not explicitly call for such a move in your book and I have seen a number of questions to you about that issue posted on your forums without reply. Would you be so kind as to clarify your position in this regard?

  6. David Mc Williams

    Hi Joe, I think we now face a similar dilemma to the one we faced in the 1960s. Back then, we had no capital then and lots of people, now we have lots of capital but not enough people. Soft power – ie the power of networks, contacts, brain power, entrepreneurial spirit, risk taking and creativity is where, I believe, we have a shortfall. So let’s see how we can attract these types of people.

    One avenue is the Diaspora idea. We have a ready-made potential workforce both as pioneer immigrants back to Ireland, as well as an enormous network globally. The idea is to make them feel part of our present as well as part of our past story and cultivate them. There is nothing coy is suggestion that we take their children in as teenegers to bond them to us. The Israelis to this with Jewish kids from all over the world and we could do them same thing. Equally, we should envisiage having dual citizenship for the Diaspora. Ireland could therefore turn itself into a talent hub using he emotional attachment of national identity as one of our magnet.

    Many EU countries including Germany and Finland operate similar policies with their Dispora. It doesn’t involve changing anything with the EU. Also we have to accept the positive reality that we are so small in overall EU terms and our demographic history so unique, that there is little the EU would, or could, do to prevent us having an active demographic policy.

    As for the central Europeans, you have made a giant leap suggesting that I believe we curtail them. I have never even remotely suggested this and have written constantly about how they have made a positive contibution to our country. That’s not to say that immigration will not produce winers and losers with Irish society. There will be both. I think we can balance our EU commitment with and much more specific Irish immigration policy if we formulate it. As you know most of Europe opeted out of the free movement of people after acession without as much as a whimper from Brussels. This is a modest proposal in contrast.

    With respect to the greater EU question, its a tricky one. We are a nation that has dropped our language, religion and articles 2 and 3 – supposedly core values – when it suited us. I’m not too sure that we won’t drop the EU if we feel that it suits us. This is not my opinion it is just an observation. What do you think? Thanks David

  7. Kevin

    David, I think you might be barking up the wrong tree on this one! Do the current weaknesses in Ireland not have more to do with the bad use of our capital rather than how many people we have in the country? I’d imagine that we’ve probably had the highest amount of immigration per head in recent years and one of the major thing that it’s made apparent is how badly behind our whole infrastructure is. I’d hate to think how it would cope if we started encouraging millions more to join us.

  8. David,
    I’d like to take up the following point you made We are a nation that has dropped our language, religion and articles 2 and 3 – supposedly core values – when it suited us. I’m not too sure that we won’t drop the EU if we feel that it suits us..

    I don’t think exiting the EU can be compared to the disappearance of Irish and the removal of articles 2 and 3. First the language. The most spectacular death of the Irish language occured in the 19th century. At the time, and in truth even still, it never was a core value. In fact, in large part the reason why the language die was we put such low value on it. Even today I know native Irish speakers in their 50s who did not transmit the language to their children. Irish continues to die in the Gaeltacht. Core value – never was.

    Articles 2 and 3 are perhaps a little fairer. But this happened in the wake of a surge of optimism in the wake of the GFA and after a prolonged period where the territorial claim was honoured most by ignoring it. The Southern Republic, despite the rhetoric, cared little for their so called Northern Brethren. In fact go back to the treaty and the civil war. The core issue was never the 6 counties – but limited dominion status and a continuation of allegiance to the King. Furthermore, dropping articles 2 and 3 carried almost no cost.

    Exiting the EU on the other hand would require a massive exercise in cost benifit analysis and without question, whatever the benifit, the cost would be high.

  9. Joe

    David,

    The type of Immigration policy you envision would need to be discriminative. There is, as you rightly point out, nothing wrong with a discrimination in terms of immigration. A discriminating immigration policy would still allow us to accept and attract Central and Eastern Europeans, high value workers from China and India, the diaspora, and any other group that we deem to be beneficial to Ireland in terms of adding to our cultural and economic growth, including asylum seekers. What I am struggling to understand is how we could balance attracting back the diaspora while remaining Part of the EU ( one of the cornerstones of which is the free movement of Labour) and having an immigration policy that is, as you point out, dictated by London. As a small country, our ability to absorb immigrants is limited, so it would appear to me that we can’t have it all, and certainly can’t have it all our way while we remain the EU. Your thoughts?

    Joe.

  10. David Mc Williams

    Hi Joe, I think that in its present guise, we would have to seek a derogation from the EU to pursue the Diaspora idea. This would not be new. And as for the four freedoms of the EU, what is in the Treaty of Rome and what the EU actually does, can in many instances be two different things. The crux of the issue here is that we can do whatever we like with Irish citizenship and the EU can/will/should do nothing. It is when we start to ban certain EU citizens from coming here that we have a problem. I don’t support such exclusion in any way. So Joe I don’t see there being a problem. Similarly when Germany called back its Volga Germans in the 1990s the EU did nothing.

    We should see the Diaspora as a source of labour in the same way as EMU is a source of capital. In addition the cultural spinoffs are positive and probably most imporatantly Joe, this is the “right” thing to do for people who believe that they are connected to our country by history, geneology or cuulture. If we can’t reach out to our own Tribe, who can we reach out to?

    Beat Regards, David

  11. Joe

    David,

    I totally agree with you. Calling back the tribe is the right thing to do and it’s the smart thing to do in terms of our future. Perhaps I misunderstood what you were getting at in the generation game. It seemed to me that the logical implication of your vision was that we should ban or limit immigration from certain EU states (which could only practically be achieved by leaving the EU) in in favour of the the diaspora. If I understand you correctly, then what you are suggesting is that we pursue the diaspora in addition continuing to absorb EU immigrants This would make sense as it would increase the number of “Irish” people living here relative to immigrants with little or no cultural or historical connection to the country, and add to the “soft power” of the nation. You must be very bullish on the future if you believe that we could accommodate such a large rise in population. One other thought, it would require much more visionary and competent politicians than the current clowns in power to pull such an ambitious feat off. Just think of all the infrastructure planning that would be required . The mind boggles. Anyway it is a great idea, and more ideas are what we need in this country. Kudos for getting the debate rolling.

    Best,
    Joe.

  12. john

    I agree with the last few postings I think it is an “either/or idea”. I think that the reason we have distanced ourselves somewhat from the diaspora is precisely because we have joined the EU. We saw the EU as our future and the diaspora and emigration as our past. It is similar to the way Britain distanced itself from its colonies after it joined the EU and also the reason why countries like australia and canada no longer granted automatic residency to british citizens (and also to irish by extension). The australians were not that happy at the time when britain joined the EU. I think the reason why you have come up with this idea is that you think the EU may not be so good for ireland in the future and that ireland could do better by reconnecting with countries that emigrants went to in the past. I think this would be a radical move and as you know the irish government does not do radical moves unless it is forced by circumstances. Irish immigration policy directly mimics britains in terms of immigration from eastern europe, we joined the EU the same time as britain did, and ireland would only leave it if britain did. Also if we were to make such a dramatic gesture to people with irish ancestry would the countries these people live in reciprocate, i doubt canada or australia would.

  13. Totally agree. Here in Switzerland it takes 12 yrs + to get citizenship (5+ after marriage) but is retained for four generations.

    With a similar size and less land to use it has twice the Irish population.

    Ireland a small country? Try Liechtenstein for small.

  14. As a second-generation Irishman living in Ireland, it is a relief that the recognition of the diaspora is being raised again, which Tim Pat Coogan and many others have picked up on in the past. The talk of a selective immigration policy, which can’t happen, distracts people away from a long-running debate: when are you Irish enough. People I know have to talk at lengths to feel accepted by your fellow Irishmen – believe me, second or third generation Irishmen and women feel under pressure to prove their Irishness which is more important for some than it is for others.

    Culturally speaking, Irish writers and academics have long debated the Irishness question (the imagining of the west of Ireland; is Dublin Irish enough?; the Irishness of Protestants, Northerners or even the Old-English who settled in the C12th). My impression is that many Irish people are very protective about accepting the Irishness of the diaspora – a Tommy Tiernan joke is: What is it like to be Irish, not f***ing English). People should recognise the cultural affinity people have for Ireland. If you have grown up in England for example, any joke or jibe about the English is often made at your expense – whether said in earnest or not.

    Overall, there is a lot of groundwork to be done so that the Irishness of the diaspora is appreciated without us being made to feel that we are looking for tenuous links or that we’re a “plastic paddy”. My experience is that the Irish diaspora do feel a very sincere gap or loss from growing up outside the country. However we are not trying to pretend to hide our backgrounds or disguise our accents – something Des Bishop or Sebastian Barry seem to have struggled with. It is just that it’s nice to be back in Ireland – and for many that I have met with different backgrounds, home can be where you choose it to be. Indeed, especially these days, we can have many places we call home which is actually a rewarding advantage.

  15. EH

    Changes to citizenship laws
    Sunday, December 24, 2006 -
    Under Irish nationality law created in 1956, anyone with a great-grandparent, grandparent or parent who was from Ireland was eligible for citizenship by descent.

    However, the law was changed in 1984 and members of the Irish diaspora whose closest link to Ireland was a great-grandparent no longer qualified for citizenship by descent.

    As the years go by, fewer and fewer members of the Irish diaspora will have grandparents who were born in Ireland.

    Today, the Republic of Ireland is allowing huge numbers of foreigners to come to Ireland, but current citizenship by descent laws are keeping Irish people out of their homeland. But why should someone from Poland be able to show up in Ireland tomorrow and start working and living there instantly, yet an Irish person from the US doing the same would be an illegal immigrant, subject to arrest and deportation?

    I propose that the law be reverted to allow citizenship by descent to be claimed by those with an Irish great-grandparent and that the Irish government explore the possibility of extending citizenship to all people with Irish ancestry.

    I have lots of Irish ancestors, but my closest link to Ireland is my great-grandmother who came to the US as a child. Until the law is changed, I will not be able to obtain Irish citizenship.

    EH, New Jersey, US.

    http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2006/12/24/story19772.asp

    I’m Irish, Too!

    The current politics of the Republic of Ireland seem to have a very ungrateful attitude towards Irish Americans and Irishness as a whole. If it weren’t for Irish Americans and our concern for the well-being of Ireland, I doubt the country would be in nearly as good shape as it is today.

    Today the politics of the Republic of Ireland seem to have moved from an allegiance to the Irish people, to an allegiance to the European Union and a wealthy minority. Irish people and our culture are being swept under the rug by politicians and elites in the Republic who are only concerned about their own personal economic gain.

    I am Irish. yet I cannot get a passport indicating such from the Irish government. If I were to relocate to the Republic of Ireland tomorrow I would be arrested, jailed, thrown out, and barred for being an illegal alien.

    At the same, time someone who is an alien from a country that belongs to the EU such as Poland couldn’t welcomed enough.

    The Republic of Ireland is a lot of things. But today I’m not so sure it’s truly still an “Irish Republic.”

    I hope that I am proven wrong. Ireland, please give me and the rest of the Irish diaspora the citizenship we are entitled to.

    So what if my last ancestor to be born on Ireland was my great grandmother? Does that make my DNA no longer Irish?

    Does that make my late grandfather’s stories of growing up in his Irish ethnic neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen, New York any less authentic? Does that make me any less Irish? The answer is no.

    EH

    Bradley Beach, New Jersey

    http://www.irishabroad.com/news/irish-voice/letters/letters20070816.aspx

  16. SpinstaSista

    I agree with Eric’s proposal that the law be reverted to allow citizenship by descent to be claimed by those with an Irish great-grandparent. However I think that some of our best immigrants are Polish and as citizens of the EU, they have as much right to live and work here as anyone else.

    There appears to be a grey area with regard to immigrants coming to Ireland from China and India, ostensibly as students, but if this is the case why do they all seem to be working? I don’t doubt that they have tremendous energy and resourcefulness in combining their studies with paid work, but I see more and more Asians with young children in this country. Are they here as students?

    Back to Eric’s proposal, I would love to see people of Irish descent of all colours from all over the world coming to live and work here. I think that people such as this, along with our Eastern European workers, would work well with the host population and make the next generation of Irish more entrepreneurial and dynamic than ever before. And dare I say it, more honest and transparent in their business dealings.

  17. Laura Farrell

    While there are ideas here that are not unreasonable, I think its extraordinarily naive. At one point, when I was on the verge of being down and out in London many years ago, I found myself at the Irish Centre in Camden. The other people there were a sorry collection of long term emmigrants – people who had so long been in states of woe and misery they’d made a career of their victimhood, and would never become anything but a sore on the butt of society, moaning of their sorry lot in life.

    But David – you assume 2 things – a) that most emmigrants are hard working and entrepenuerial and b) that most people left Ireland for economic reasons. I think b) is the more significant as a huge number of Irish left because they were social misfits – and I’ve a number of friends who’ve come back only to discover that they are still social misfits, and are still excluded from mainstream society. Ok there is a lot tolerance now for the lone parents, the “flighty” woman or a practising homosexual – but try it in some rural remote country town and you’ll fast find yourself viciously excluded from both social and economic life. Or at least from the best of it.

    For me, its that residue of powerful social norms that has actually made the influx of Eastern Europeans and Asians so successful here – perceived as being hard working and pious, they fit in better than most Irish who left!

  18. Kevin

    David,

    I read this column and another one recently published in the Irish Echo with great interest. I am a second generation Irish-American on one side, with three other grandparents being second or third generation Irish themselves. Yet, as the laws now stand I cannot claim citizenship. My grandfather was born in the USA while my great-grandparents were living in Los Angeles for a brief time. They returned to Ireland with my new born grandfather before he turned 1. My grandfather was raised in Longford and later attended Clongoweswood College and was admitted to the Royal College of Surgeons before being sent to the USA on behalf of the Irish family as their representative in an estate issue in Los Angeles. He met my grandmother here, whose grandparents were from Co. Limerick, and he stayed here. Now, simply because he was born here, yet raised in Ireland, I cannot claim citizenship as a Foreign Born National.

    I could have apparently if my father did back in 1986, and I did at the same time. I, like many, Irish-Americans do feel a very strong connection to Ireland. It seems like the Irish government wants all of the benefits of the Irish diaspora, but none of the responsibilities. Over the past 150 years, Irish-Americans have done a lot for Ireland – it is high time that Ireland give something back.

    Thanks,
    Kevin Higgins

  19. Sean Summers

    I am an Irish Catholic Canadian and have traced my roots back on

    every familly line to Ireland.A few yrs ago my father was let go from

    his work of 27 yrs from bell canada due to cutbacks.He was 48 yrs old
    and retired.He was very qualified fiber optic splicer so had no

    problem working in the pre 911 USA and did so until work dried up for

    non americans after 911.I then brought to my Dads attention that his

    GrandFather had come over from Ireland on a wind jammer just after

    the famine.I looked into him getting his irish citizenship and had to

    prove that he was the grandson of an irishman.I did the research and

    helped him get his citizenship so he could go and do the work he

    loved in Ireland.I also tried to get my citizenship but could not

    because my Dad would have had to get his citizenship before 1986.My

    Greatgrand father was an Irish citizen born in wexford 1852
    my grandfather was born in canada 1892 and lived his whole life not

    knowing that he was a Irish citizen.My father was born 1949 did not

    know he was also a Irish citizen in 1986 and did not know until 2003

    when I helped him get his Irish passport. I myself could have been an

    Irish citizn but I Sean Francis and my children Shayne,Siobhan and

    Sinead are not Irish enough for our citizenship.My father worked a

    few months in Ireland but because we were not with him he became

    discouraged and came back to Canada.Now mom and dad go south every

    winter along with millions of other irish canadian babyboomers and

    spend there bags full of money in the USA instead of going to Ireland

    where they should be going,instead of glorified trailer parks in

    Arizona or Florida.The baby bommers in canada have over a trillion

    dollars of Canada’s money.That is 1 million x 1 million in

    Canada.There are 80 million Irish off the island and we would like to

    come home.

  20. Donal

    To: EH, Sean Summers & Kevin Higgins.

    Overall our future with the EU doesn’t look promising, our soverignty will erode with this new treaty and we would be more like a soviet republic than the unique social, political and you could say ethnic entity (merged over hundreds of years) that is Ireland.

    I would suggest you and many others like your goodselves to write a petition to the Irish Government (Foreign Embassies and to Leinster House, the Justice Dept, Our Taoiseach & Foreign Affairs) demanding that the law be changed to include yourselves as Irish citizens proving that you have enough irish descent to qualify as loyal citizens.

    They have this in Italy, Spain and from what I remember Greece but certainly in Germany they did this.

    Get as many people in the same boat to write on this petition, send copies to organisations dedciated to this cause and get the AOH and other Diasporic Groups to support you in this quest.

    We’re a fighting people and we stick to together – Write also to the Northern Parties aswell to pressure them aswell for the right to return.

    This makes sense practically and can work.

  21. David,

    After reading your post and the comments after, I see that there is an issue being overlooked by many. I do not believe that granting members of the tribe access to the country will lead to a deluge of “plastic paddy’s” turning up at our ports demanding access, jobs, housing, etc. Economics will always seek to control the numbers that we can suitably house in Ireland.

    In the 70′s & 80′s many of our population went abroad in search of a better life. We, in effect, had nothing to offer and people became economic emigrants as a result. The opposite happened in the mid 90′s and since. Many of the Irish (myself included) who had moved away, saw the changing economy and resulting job opportunities as a way back home.

    How does this differ for those who left 100 or 200 years ago? They still feel a bond to Ireland and want to reinforce that bond. Citizenship is a way for them to achieve that bond. That does not mean that they will want to move here though. Many are successful in their own countries and want to stay. There will be some who come to Ireland seeking a better life. Why not? They are only seeking to do what their ancestors did before them. Just in reverse.

    But there is more. There are many millions, as you rightly point out, who can be encouraged to invest, holiday, bond and share Ireland as the Jewish people share Israel. They travel home not to live but to reinforce their bond with the homeland. They bank in Israeli banks, send children home to learn what it means to be Israeli – in short they increase the borders of Israel to encompass all who share the belief in Israel and bring economic benefit to the country as a result.

    What is so wrong with Ireland doing the same? The Irish diaspora want to be included in Ireland, they want to share in our beliefs and, as with the Irish American investment over many years, want to invest in the future. I believe they have that right and want to welcome them home.

    Please stop worrying about overcrowding the green, green grass. If we use the Irish network fully in the coming years, we will have plenty of jobs, infrastructure and money to cope, if we don’t then I expect that, in the not too distant future, many our current population will be off in search of somewhere greener. Will that solve our problems?

    Sincerely

    Brendan Ryan
    http://www.areyouirish.com/

  22. Chris Ryan

    David i feel your ideas on the Diaspora are very short sighted. In terms of accommodation of the lost members of “our tribe”, where are we going to house them? In accordance with planning policies and the increase in apartment sizes which was recently published Dublin’s housing stock which might not be sufficient certainly isn’t affordable. Perhaps adopt a “to hell or to Connaught approach” in trying to sustain the necessary population required for development of gateways under the NSS? Consider infrastructure which is only begining to catch up with the huge increase in our housing output in the last 10 years and certainly does not need to be stretched any further. As for the Health system, I think hospital trollies would become a luxury item seeing as an efficient service cannot be delivered for tax payers money in the current climate. Your thoughts wold be greatly appreciated..

  23. [...] the conference David McWilliams spoke of the Israeli project which invites young Jewish people to Israel. While not immediately [...]

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