March 18, 2009

Going tribal will save us from economic oblivion

Posted in International Economy · 230 comments ·
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Last St Patrick’s Day, the ‘New York Post’ published an article I wrote for them about the rejuvenating power of the diaspora.

A few years back, it seemed to me that the great Irish tribe was an unbelievable asset to the country. Yet just 18 months ago, when we thought we were invincible, such ideas were ridiculed; now it seems that everyone’s talking about the diaspora.

This St Patrick’s week consider: what exactly constitutes an Irishman?

Is it enough to have Irish blood or do you have to be born in Ireland?

What about those Irish who live in Brooklyn or Boston, who speak with Cockney or Australian accents?

The “Little Irelanders” who are born in Ireland and define Irishness by the “narrow gauge” accident of birth, that is being born either in the 26 or 32 counties, seem to have forgotten the greater Ireland of other Irish people — the exiles — who form our footprint around the world.

For the home country, the global Irish tribe is our biggest asset — and the key to our prosperity.

For years, Irish-Americans sent money back home, invested in Ireland and gave refuge and jobs to successive waves of Irish emigrants who arrived in the US looking to share in the American dream.

This is our history, this is our family and to ignore it, as we have done officially for the past 30 years is not only against our economic interest but is anti-historical.

The challenge for the Irish State is to reinvent the relationship between Ireland and the Irish diaspora.

The next chapter of the Irish story will involve harnessing Irishness and turning our worldwide family into the greatest commercial network the world has ever seen.

Some 3.5 million Irish citizens live outside the country, but the greater diaspora is considerably bigger — 70 million strong.

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 from Boston to Buenos Aires.

Today the Irish around the world have a great opportunity to re-imagine ourselves, where the island of Ireland is the mothership and the global Irish tribe is the nation.

This will involve copying the Israeli example of actively, rather than passively, cultivating the relationship between the diaspora and the ancestral homeland.

Ireland should see itself as the dynamic battery where Irish Americans can recharge their Irishness.

We could do this by extending passports to people of Irish descent, offering their children the chance to come on exchange programmes and giving them a “sense of place” that links them back to the land from which their ancestors fled.

This would then become networking for the nation — a sort of Facebook for the Irish tribe, with membership open to all of us who are willing and curious.

By using Ireland as the dynamo, we could transform an emotional and ancestral yearning into a worldwide financial network.

This would complete the historical cycle — with a successful modern Ireland reaching out to the sons and daughters of those who were forced into exile.

As the returning Jews have done in Israel — which extends citizenship to every Jewish person around the world — the “linked in” Irish exiles would inject vibrancy and enthusiasm into both our contemporary and traditional culture while opening up economic opportunities all over the world.

In practical terms, the Israelis have created their own vibrant technology industry by fusing together the brains, cash and networks of Jewish people abroad with the technological know-how of Israeli scientists.

Today Israel commercialises more technology than practically any other country. In fact, after the US and Canada, they are the world’s most successful technology entrepreneurs and their global network helps them enormously.

Ireland could do the same. In fact, by embracing the Irish diaspora which is so well embedded in the upper echelons of Wall Street and Palo Alto, we could create the Silicon Valley of Europe in the motherland.

In a globalised world, emigration is no longer a permanent decision.

People come and go — spend time in one country, move home, then maybe head out to another country. This is why creating a global network with the homeland at the fulcrum is so attractive.

The time has come to see Ireland in the 21st century as the cradle of a global nation. We should institute a “right of return” policy and extend citizenship to people of Irish descent, beyond the current cut-off point of two generations.

If we do this, globalisation could be the golden era of the Irish.

For years, the exiled Irish reminded us of our economic failure. They were traditionally the victims of a failed Ireland; in our globalised future they will be the saviours of a successful Ireland.

All we need is the courage to imagine a greater Ireland that transcends the limitations of geography, where being Irish is a coveted global brand.


  1. Before we welcome the world to our native passport office we need to clean up our corporate criminal banking laws and reform our immigration laws to make it conditional that all citizens observe and enforce the laws of the island of Ireland first before any other foreign ideals are imposed upon us .
    It’s a good idea otherwise and it creates an intangible value in our national balance sheet .

  2. We could have an Irish Green Visa for St. Patricks Day Festival. Anyone who attends a St. Patricks Day parade can apply for a passport and all those who walk in any parade around the world automatically qualify for one.

  3. Ruairi

    Hear hear David. If John Gormley wishes to press home lasting changes before his government’s post-October exit, then his green Party should press for voting rights for those current 3m plus Irish citizens abroad.

    And some form of joint tax treaty between Ireland and USA for Irish expats who choose to end their days in Ireland; to be able to perhaps avail of excess holiday housing stock now at knockdown prices. It could be offset against better wage deals for MNCs coming here; the wages are going to plummet anyway; naturally.

    The incumbent government and the vast rump of FG will most likely not want overseas voting. God forbid that disenchanted emigrants could not just post here but also post a ballot paper . . . .

    Well done David for injecting properly focussed patriotism and community ethic into our economic forays. Without vision and a plan, we are just flotsam and jetsam on the finicky seas of globalisation, adrift in a world of blind saviours. We know our value; lets get on with it and shout it from the rooftops.

    We need to get right back to the kind of thinking that brought Ford Europe to Cork. Mork calling Gormley, come in Gormley .. .

  4. Ruairi

    Incidentally, a rumour doing the circuits at the moment is that Brian Cowen, while in the US of A, has agreed in principle to writing the foreword to George Bush’s planned new book about his 12 toughest decisions. See http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/eyaumhkfeymh/

    Could be a good stepping stone for Brian (previous Angola war hero) as he in time writes his own book about the 12 toughest decisions of any living person today as he manfully grappled with attempting to get silk from a sow’s ear in appointing his own ‘dirty dozen’ 12 apostles http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0507/cowenbreax.html And added in the 3 Stooges for a bit of mystique. . . . A thankless job our man has.

  5. gadfly55

    Right, the Irish can send 20000 to the US for two years, and 5000 US citizens can come and work here for two years, if they can find work. This has been agreed, and Cohen, as the President pronounced his name, was begging for more visas for Paddies to escape. Now, in your sustained delirium, you want us, in the EU, to offer passports to anyone with a modicum of DNA derived at some time or other from a person who inhabited this part of a small island, or maybe any part of the island. At a time when we pay out generously in every way shape and form for persons of no income, for various weekly, monthly, yearly monetary direct payments, as well as medical card, children’s allowances, free third level tuition, etc. you propose to throw the doors wide open. We can assume that any of these new citizens can bring their partners, children, grand-children, in-laws, and assorted non-dependents to join in this utopia. All of this to paid for by VAT on the building boom to accommodate this horde. The Irish are not, never have been, and never will be part of the Zionist project, subsidised by the US taxpayer directly, and the wealthiest elite of any group defined by religious background and culture in the world. We need not mention AIPAC, and its influence on the establishment and American government. The analogy is flawed as is the pipe-dream. What are you inhaling these days? Apart from the ashes of macroeconomic training.

    • Ruairi

      “anyone with a modicum of DNA derived at some time or other from a person who inhabited this part of a small island, or maybe any part of the island”

      @gadfly5>>5 It has always been state policy to issue visas to citizens of Northern Ireland on an equal basis. Shame on you for implying there is a difference. The Kingdom of Ireland / entity of ‘Ireland’ existed prior to the Act of Union. Seeing what lies before your eyes require no great mind gymnastics. Envisioning a future / a changed paradigm does. David’s grand schematic cannot be flawed no more than any grand vision. If there are particular underlying details or stages that you wish to criticise, I’m all ears. If the notion of global village, fair trade, consumer sanctions and using the diaspora as a strong network for Ireland’s betterment are all foreign concepts to you economically, I for one am unsure as to how more complicated realities may be explained to you.

      I do genuinely hope that reading this forum is improving your economic intellectual muscles though. Stick at it and the diaspora support network may make more sense in time . . .

  6. gadfly55

    The best phrase in this cloud shape hallucination is the “economic oblivion”. You really should consider the means of survival for the masses in about 3 years when the oblivion has exhausted our savings, and we are on the bread line, or working the soil to grow our own spuds, and find the eggs the fox, stoat, and magpie have missed, from our hens who the pine marten has spared.

  7. My view on this issue is from the perspective of living in Ireland, the Middle East and currently S-E Asia.

    Generally, I don’t believe that there is any so-called silver bullet for Ireland’s problems. Many policy areas can be improved to have a better impact.

    We did take advantage of the Irish interest in the US going back to the Kennedy administration, In today’s globalised world, there is a lot more competition for the same pie.

    1. I don’t know how the extension of Irish passports to 70 million, would comply with EU rules e.g would the Poles be allowed to give passports to half the population of Chicago with access to the other EU26?

    2. For second generation Irish, the primary interest/affinity would be with the country of their birth. First generation Irish after 15 years or more in a country ditto.

    3. What is more compelling about living Ireland compared with most countries of the developed world? Housing costs are much higher, public services are generally bad and the weather is pretty miserable for much of the year.

    4. Many proposals will remain academic unless the era of bogman politics and crony capitalism changes. Unless, Ireland becomes like Denmark rather than Japan, nothing much will change.

    5. How many of the 216 national politicians can credibly inspire and articulate a vision for a modern Ireland to be proud of — I would struggle to come up with 5 names. Pathetic isn’t it?

    Apart from specific situations where there would be a confluence of interests from an investment point of view, why would rational Irish people return to this crony system of inertia and muddle?

  8. if david’s idea is eventually proposed to the nation does that mean our country ceases to exist and then become soverign internet cafe ruled by a cursor

  9. Dilly

    Most of the Diaspora were forced to leave, in order to live a proper life. If you scratch the surface, they will tell you what they really think of the old sod, much of it isn’t pleasant, but it is true. The chancers that run this Island all need to go, before anything can change for the better.

    Lenihan was in the news, stating that he intends to crackdown on crony capitalism. That really made me laugh, especially seeing as his Fianna Fail buddies are part of this crony circle. He is hardly going to put his mates in jail, or tell them what to do.

  10. justinf

    look folks – we could be here until the cows come home with argueing and fisking David’s latest article.

    But let’s stand back a bit and take a deep breath.

    Yesterday we saw New York City have an enormous Saint Patricks Day parade with about 4 to 5 MILLION people attending – and at what cost to the Irish treasury? ZERO. zippo. Nada. Not a cent.

    Do you realise that any other country in the WORLD would sell their grandchildren for free publicity like that in America? Come on like – 5th Avenue shut down so that the Irish can have a parade???

    Lets stand back and think of the implications of that – and more importantly , how do we capitalise on that?

    It’s no longer good enough to just let the Irish diaspora just go all “Oirish” for a day and for us to freeload on that good will. We have to be cleverer in future – we have to engage and capitalise on it.

    • gadfly55

      Look, I grew up 40 miles from Boston, and at the age of 10, 40 miles from Manhattan. I departed that continent to return to the west of Ireland, 37 years ago. The sentimental nonsense of Oirish ancestry is complete and utter garbage. Unless you are in the recycling business and hope to generate energy from hot air and methane emanating annually from the orifices of the diaspora who have their moment of good cheer in the jungle of survival of the fittest, the word “capitalise” means sweet, shagh all. The Irish are the most cunning political machine operators in the history of the human race, and if you ever witnessed an Irish parade, it is the police and firemen, who packed these services with the benefits of political favors from the usual ward-heelers who delivered the votes, early and often for their Tammany Hall masters like Boss Tweed. The biggest purse was always the public purse, and now the financial elite are picking that clean at the highest level, with Geithner and Sumners handing trillions to the poachers who have at least $12 trillion off-shore. The hard rain is falling, and it is more like spent plutonium than pliable lead. Pay attention to the global conspiracy to indenture humanity by Anglo-American financial masters of the universe. Our only hope is the northern Europeans in the euro-zone, and the good sense of Sarkozy to ally with them. The PIGS are stuck and bleeding terminally.

      • wills

        @gadfly55
        Spot on., the 12trillion is the story, its the answer to why we are in a supposed “credit crunch”. Can i add, the fed today is pumping another trillion in thru banks which will find its way to cayman islands land of hedge funds

  11. G

    With respect David, correct me if I am wrong, I think your idea was too closely related to the Israeli model, that some how we would welcome home ‘the Irish’=, give them land and work- that is plainly not going to work now and was dubious when floated.

    The other alternative is to utilise the ’70 million’ abroad – this is already being done but could be done a lot better, so I am not entirely sure what you are proposing.

    As pointed out by others, I am also not sure how many of the ’70′ would want to be involved with Ireland Inc as people now shamelessly refer to it. I for one am considering leaving and wouldn’t anyone knocking on my door in the US/Australia soliciting money as that would strike me as more of the same BS.

    Your ‘right of return’ would just lead to mass unemployment for a country that can’t even sustain its tiny population and quite frankly come back for what? The crap roads, crap health service, crap police service, crap government, crap weather, crap customer service, crap value for money, crap houses………come on David, awake from this NEVER, NEVERLAND state of mind………it is the musings of a man with too much time on his hands.

    • Ruairi

      Its hard to know.

      It is possible that in order to gain international respect agian in investment circles, Ireland Inc might have to be seen to have some high profile ‘clever irish’ traits again.

      So, for instance, if steered correctly by the right high-profile businesspeople, there could be an investment fund that sources money from diaspora for medium-term (10-15?) returns and invests in ringfenced PPPs such as energy infrastructure, mass farming cooperatives etc.
      De Valera raised a lot of money using Oirish bonds but of course duped a lot of people in the process. I don’t doubt for a second that there isn’t a large amount of the diaspora who genuinely haven’t a clue where to invest a few grand (if they have a little to spare, and some do) as everything else, apart from oil and gold, is bearish. I cannot see why strong & credible promotion of watertight investment projects in dividend-paying infrastructure could not see an influx of Oirish money into much-needed projects.

      The black and white doom and gloom of many posters here is palpable. Of course the filthy hands would try to get their hands on these projects again (I don’t mean business scions, they are required to attract funds and drive through successful projects). But skillfully managed, these projects could be ringfenced from harm’s way, be the nucleus of post Celtic Tiger Ireland’s relationship with its diaspora and lead to trade and MNC opportunities. I don’t think its rocketscience or LaLaLand at all. Its simply needs to be ringfenced and kept high profile. That ensures it gives politicians the much needed ‘Ireland on top of their game’ factor while also ensuring genuine investments and dividends happen. Look around, look at all of the good investments that could be made, that would generate savings or returns. Its not complicated. Its about will and focus. And ringfencing to keep out mé-féiners in Irish political and subterranean business types.

  12. sylvia

    70 million passports at euro100 a shot. Solve our national debt etc. Not so long ago Ireland gave passports to anybody who invested a million punts in Irish Industry. Hows did the EU handle that?

  13. As somebody who has relatives in New Jersey and other parts of America and the world, I can honestly tell you from experience that yes to have Irish blood you do have to be born. Now I most certainly don’t mean that from a racist or racialist point of view, I just think to have Irish blood, you need the Irish mentality, upbringing and spirit- these things grow gradually, and are aquired over the years- it is not enough for somebody born in a foreign nation (regardless of their wider family’s origins) to claim Irishness or Irish blood, because the upbringing and mentality has been forged in a completely different nation and culture to our own. Now i’m not a killjoy, and don’t suggest that St Patricks Day parades should be banned in New York, Boston, Chicago etc, but it should be left at that level (a yearly celebration) because I believe that hypenated Irishmen are not thought of as genuine for the simple reason- they do not live Irish lives, on a daily and communal level. Living elsewhere, and with no more information than perhaps passed on stories, that the view of Ireland is completely out of step with daily realities- I think Ireland is too over-romaticised to be honest. be honest isn’t it. A poor weather system, towns and cities built with a poor infrastructure and communal facilities, and an incompetant government that cannot look after the 4 million people who live here, never mind reach out and cater for 70-80 million.
    I personnaly don’t think it is narrow minded to have a view of Irishness which extends no further than birth and upbringing- it is not good enough to grow up elsewhere, and not in the native culture- while still claiming to be a part of it. The difference between Israel and Ireland is that Israel is surrounded by hostile neighbours, often with nothing less than an intention to destroy the state of Israel. We fortunately are not in this situation. While of course, and obviously there is no gripe among anybody at the thought of people who have Irish descendents sending money here, and contributing to our economy, I really cannot see many people having anymore interest in this global Irish nation. Is it not a contratiction for some of the posters above to speak of tribalism, when in fact it is geography, culture and parental upbringing that makes us who we are. What I am trying to say is that a person who does not grow up has what I would term a “selective Irishness”. It does not involve living in the realities of day-to-day lives, or live with the secret pains and tribulations of Irishness and been Irish (we all know deep down), and instead live in a world where a little microcasm Ireland is visited every weekend in the form of an Irish pub, with everything that is quaint and interesting about Ireland- but these same people also have the ability at the end of the day to walk out the door onto American streets and integrate with friends/ family and live an American lifestyle. Money is one thing, but I do not think it is good enough for these individuals who have very little real, hard or practical knowledge of this nation to consider themselves part of it, or feel the right to be entitled to automatic citizenship rights. I have nothing against these people as individuals and Americans as such, an feel that they are perfectly within their rights to invest in Ireland, or visit the nation on holidays- I don’t think it really goes beyond this, and I speak as somebody with relatives in America as well as elsewhere in the world. We can still become the silicon valley of Europe anybody, while keeping our trade open and not reverting back to politices that are ill-suited to a small, resourcless and perihperial island- while not having the responability of catering to such an enormous cluster of people, in the region of 80 million, 20 times the population of our state. Live and let live of course- but only some can be Irish or any nationality, others of course are entitled to admire or take interest in off course, but that is where you call a spade a spade, and live in the here-and-now and the hard practacalities and realities of the world, and of Ireland and Irishness/ Irish culture, identity etc.

    • Well -said Davi.

      Just check out the stagnant real incomes data in recent decades, under the 1% at the top of the pyramid and you will find most people on the streets of NYC had reason to worry about jobs, 401k retirement plans and the end of equity release from rising house prices.

      Remember, the Irish story was rags to riches in the past 15 years and now it’s back to the discount store.

      Don’t expect Irish-Americans to stump up for modern Liberty bonds after the best opportunity to put the Irish economy on a sustainable basis in history, was flushed down a sink hole – - bonds have their limits!

      • Ruairi

        There is still opportunity in crisis though?

        Its a level playing field out there in many ways. Britain (where we inherited the mania for housing booms from) is on its knees and too bloated to be able to stand up for a long long time. The Other PIIGS nations have problems in many ways much worse than ours. As a people we are hugely in debt, but not as a nation. Yet. Germany and the ‘wise’ ones? It turns out they are the other hand doing the handshake, so while we were buying, they were selling etc etc. We’re all up to our ears in doo-doo.

        So why not see that we can be fleet of foot as a small nation and make some clever moves? Our public service issues are there for years, never tackled, never changed. That never stopped our SMEs from getting on with getting on. Should the private sector lie down and die just because the public sector efficiencies are no closer than 2 years ago?
        So the crux of this budget coming in is to not kill the golden goose. Do not tax us into oblivion, make the necessary moves to give the international community strong belief that of all the near-death turkeys out there, Ireland’s public finances are the one worth a punt in late March/ early April when the bond sales begin. The next 3 weeks’ government ‘confidence-building measures’ spells the unwinding or storing of the next decade’s energy. We have the ability to position ourselves nicely as a nation if we play our cards right. Personal debt is exactly that, personal, and those who have it should soak it up, as that’s the honourable thing to do

  14. Malcolm McClure

    David said: “The challenge for the Irish State is to reinvent the relationship between Ireland and the Irish diaspora.”

    The desire to claim an Irish ancestral lineage is present in many who have only a vague idea of their family history. As they struggle to retain their identity in the melting pot of exile, their family names give a residual attachment to the land of their ancestors. Now that so many family history resources are online in Britain, Australia and America it is fairly straight-forward to get back to the original immigrants, the ships they came on and some idea of where in Ireland their families originated.

    This provides a great opportunity for the government to encourage and formalise this Irish sense of identity by establishing a Department for the Diaspora, equipped with links to all the online information that is available here that will allow genealogiical searches to establish the names and places of origin of the original emigrants.

    This Department would be staffed with unemployed graduates and paid for by those seeking to establish their Irish roots. As an additional incentive, those who established and documented Irish ancestry for either parent would be given the accolade of honorary irish citizenship with the right to purchase one acre of Irish woodland from Coillte. This would also give them a clear and permanent right to vote in Irish elections. (Coillte, the state forestry company, owns and manages over a million acres). At a rate for example of only €1000 per acre that would raise a Billion Euros.

    A million new voters equipped with overseas experiences and perspectives would soon drag Ireland into the 21st century.

    • Ruairi

      Well said Malcolm, David’s just throwing the grand framework out there. We all need to get our thinking caps on. Your idea is sound. Ireland is also still greatly denuded of its forestry vis-a-vis other European nations and its previous forestry history.

      While we’re on the subject of returning emigrés and tourist visitors, our government in its wisdom is tying its own shoelaces together by knocking 6 weeks off of the opening hours of our OPW sites. This is ham-fisted in the extreme. Again, as pointed out here before by Garry I think, what could be done with 160 (217 total?) x 30k reduction in salaries for TDs? How could that 30k be used to make more money / save a home / keep a town alive / seedfund a vital tourist hub attraction? Instead of pouring it into the misplaced savings of a no-hope gombeen politician who on his / her best days wouldn’t make the cut in the real world of decison-action-feedback-decision-action-feedback etc.

    • justinf

      thats a brilliant idea Malcolm.
      as an immigrant myself, i’d love to own a piece of the “auld sod”.

      where do i sign up?

  15. VincentH

    A David me ol’mucca, Ireland has never been poor. Some people on this island have been playing their holiday cards in the west indies and the Caps for decades.
    In Ireland, the question has never been and is not now based on anything nearing a reality. We have Consultant Doctors, lawsmiths, and civil service with income from the public purse well beyond anything the population NUMBERS can justify.
    We have farmers producing a crap subsidized product and industries not so much borrowed to a hilt today, but to 50 years onwards. Where the bet made by Finance, their gold standard is the Gold Standard, is at best neutral.
    You witter on about the people who left this State sending money home, but have you heard the stories of those who left after 1924, when their Mother died, only to recieve a bill from John Desmonde/Grocer/ undertaker/ publican who tacked onto the Planting an expense nailed very slightly less than the cost of a Royal funeral, and every nasty bill, because her son was working at the Anaconda was attached.
    I do not, nor will I ever advocate any investment in this State.
    For nothing changes. The fears are exactly the same as 100 years ago

  16. Also can I make a suggestion for the ‘Top Ideas’ forum. In the wake of the rescent murders of two British soldiers in Northern Ireland, and that many people use the military prescence in the North as an excuse to murder innocent people, that a similiar idea be taken up along the lines of the R.U.C. changing to the P.S.N.I and becoming more inclusive to the nationalist community, that the same be done in the military sense. Our army does not get involved much abroad, bar the odd peace keeping mission. Why don’t we give our army and small navy/ air core a purpose, and let them work in Northern Ireland alongside the British army. If the British and Irish army can work together in Northern Ireland- this may lessen some of the tensions in the same way that the newer more inclusive police force the P.S.N.I has done. Give the Irish army a meaningful and dignifying purpose- also it would not violate the Neutrality laws of the country. The Irish army should keep the peace in Northern Ireland along with the British army- hopefully then the sick incidents that occured last week can no longer be excused.

  17. I believe david’s idea is a good one and I have every confidence that a real intangible product can be sold that will eliminate our budget deficit / however we must not view it from the bottom of a barrel rather instead there must be independent leader chosen with unlimited budget to make this happen ………..and it will.

  18. No offence, as much as I liked Ireland when I was a little kid and was well treated by my parents and got a decent basic education, I was only biding my time to get out of the place, combined with the fact that it was the only option available if I wanted a job.
    Now that the country is up the proverbial creek without a paddle due to people’s greed, corruption and icompetence, why would you expect us of the ‘Diaspora’ to be so eager to come back and bail you all out of the hole you have dug yourself into.?
    I never wanted one of the over-priced houses being peddled and all the other trappings of materialism that have consumed the country in the last 20 years which I have mercifully, in the large part, lived abroad. I love going back to see my parents and one or two choice friends, for a couple of weeks, but there isn’t a hope in hell of me moving back. Sure, I will help any fellow Irish person I happen to meet on my travels or who wants to come and visit but I hope you all learn the lessons of this disaster and tell the banks where to shove their loans the next time they try to ram them down your throats and also, don’t waste your time voting for any of your crooked politicians (actually, not just in Ireland but anywhere). They don’t care about you; they are only interested in getting elected and lining their own pockets so don’t fall for the spiel. Just because ‘people died for the vote’ in a different era, doesn’t necessarily means it’s any good now. If you want to achieve something you have to go and do it yourself, don’t expect anyone to hand it to you on a silver platter (and if they do there’s a catch or it’s not worth the paper it’s written on). Help yourself and your neighbour; if everyone did then things would fall into place for all. Ireland it’s time to wake up!

    • Haven’t read your article again David, I would encourage you to ‘dream-on’, none of what you suggest is ever going to happen, there’s not enough foresight around for it.

  19. Sorry, I mean – ‘Having read your article again…’

  20. Deco

    No. A non-runner. The people who left Ireland left behind a society rotten with nepotism, self-importance, and arrogance. It has not changed.

    We need to clean up the incompetence of our institutions, our professional classes, and all those ‘self-regulating’ industries. Ireland is corrupt. We got money from abroad, and we blew it. We do not deserve a second chance before we clean up the cesspits of corruption and nepotism that are the public and sheltered private sectors of Ireland.

    There is no way out of taking responsibility for our situation. The current culture in the media is to look for a bailout. I know Irish-Canadians, and they regard Ireland as a nice pretty country ruled over by a really nasty clque of crooked of gangsters. This is surprisingly prevalent in Canada, and parts of the American Mid-West. It will take time before you see it, but it is there. And let’s be blunt about it – it is a pretty accurate assessment. Of course it is a severe blow to the Irish perception of Irish importance that those polite liberal Canadians would look on Ireland as a place dominated by ineptitude and corruption. But there we go again, Irish pride. It is a pity we were not capable of being honest instead of being dishonest and proud of it, to boot. There are things about Ireland that we like to imagine others do not know about us. Well, trust me – they know. The are far smarter than you think. The Green water in the fountain in Washington yesterday was as much about Chicago Democrats as it was about anything else.

    We do not want to destroy whatever goodwill we have remaining as a country, in order to ‘rescue’ the ANIBs, the BOIs of this world. Ireland needs new banks. Unfortunately the credit unions have become victims to all sorts of scams – which is highly beneficial to all the con-artists running the major banks and building societies.

    The Irish in North America and elsewhere are fighting a battle for the preservation of the hopes and aspirations of their own children. We should not expect a bailout for our irresponsible post CJH society of waster, drunkeness, corruption and cronyism. We don’t deserve it. And we should be honest about it. Irish society blew a fortune of money the first chance it got. We need to fix the sub-prime intellectual and moral state of this society. And we should be wary of all sort of diversions which promise to get us out of straightening ourselves out.

    We should also apologise on behalf of the corrupt and incompetent elite of this country for the fact that so many had to emigrate because the system was underperforming under the weight of nepotism, corruption and incompetence.

    Vincent Browne is right – the fiscal crisis can be solved by getting the tax system right – but the vested interests don’t want that to happen. The banking crisis is not the taxpayer’s problem. It is a crisis for shareholders, and a crisis for property developers. For everyone else it is a chance to buy an affordable home.

    Let’s try eating some humble pie for a change. It is not too much to expect, and it might allow us to get out of the current sub-intellectual state of Irish culture.

  21. Also my I add Irishness is a genuine thing, not some feel-good factor for people to self-induldge in now and then. I find people who refer to themselves as Irish American perpratrate the worst stereotypes about the Irish, and give our land an image not too disimliar from the old 19th century punch magazine caricatures. I have honestly met Americans who based their so called ethnicity on their “love of drink”, or their “fiery temprer”, or their “red hair” etc. Why is it that anybody in this nation does not find this group of people to be an abomination?

    • Deco

      Davi – if Americans have that image of us – please do not tell them any different, for they still have kindness there for Ireland. If they were to know the truth then that kindness would disappear. The last thing we want them to do is find out the truth, about the corruption, the social decline, the rampant dishonesty and sheer arrogance of today’s Ireland. If that were to happen,then we as a nation would have to fix our problems instead of creating mental constructs that enable us to sweep them all under the carpet.

      Should they find out the real story, then we will get the contempt which we as a culture have furiously strove to deserve in the last thirty years. Their vision of Ireland is harmless. The ugly reality of today’s Ireland is pretty gruesome.

      • Ruairi

        The Polish construction workers read Ireland and its arrogance and bad-heartedness correctly and rightly so, don’t want any dogs or Irishmen wandering around their building sites at home. As a people, we are where we deserve to be. Our leadership, for decades now (across many facets of society state/ church/unions/professional classes/entertainment, is morally bland and our people are consequentially numbed and seeking the lowest common denominator in everything they do.

        This tapping the diaspora idea was raised 6-9 months ago Deco and you had no time for it then either! Thank God someone in ireland is morally and actively consistent with their vision and utterances.

        • Dilly

          You still witness this even during this recession. People go out of their way to rip each other off, and then boast about it. Only a few weeks ago I had to listen to a (well respected locally) Business Man, gloating about how he took an Insurance Company to the cleaners. But, this comes from the top down, we have grown up to be like this, it is ingrained into our psyche, and this needs to change. But, how can it change, when the clowns who we copy, are still running the show. Something needs to give, that is for sure.

  22. Deco

    David – an important distintion needs to be made between Israel and Ireland.
    Israelis have a civic sense of collective togetherness and solidarity. It came from centuries of oppression and persecution. Israelis learnt to rely on each other for support.

    Irish people lost that some time about six months after the Irish Civil War ended. Ever since Irish people have been robbing off each other. It is just not going to work. The pride thing again. Every Paddy for himself. Unfortunate. But I can see very little evidence to the contrary. Just look at the market rigging that is rampant in Ireland.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Deco,

      Excellent posts, especially this one – you’ve summed it all up in the last two lines.

      I’ll never forget back in 2003, I was trying to pick up some seasonal / weekend work as a taxi driver. I didn’t have enough money to go out on my own, so I had to “cosy” on someone elses taxi.

      Only 1 guy was prepared to give me a start, and guess what, he wanted to trouser 50% of my earnings! Every Paddy for himself is right! I had to take his deal, and handed good money over to him every week (he said he needed it in future years as he had no pension, but politely offerred me use of his apartment in spain if I ever went there on holiday) for about 6 months (on and off), when finally a better deal came my way from someone else.

      Needless to say, I do not support the taxi drivers protests. In fact, I can say that the fall in income couldn’t happen to a nicer “profession”.

      One more short story, my car needed a new radiator, so I took Mary Harney’s advice and shopped around. Garage A quoted €150, Garage B didn’t answer the phone, Garage C said it would be later next week before he could look at it. So, I had a brainwave, and called a mate of mine who knows a bit about cars. He provided me with phone number of a garage and told me this guy is sound, mention my name and he’ll sort you out. So I went to this mechanic, and he did it that afternoon for €100. I thanked him for his great service and price quality, assured him I’d gladly recommend him to everyone I know and I mentioned to him that Garage A had quoted me €150. He said, “Don’t talk to me about them. They’re ringing me up complaining to me that my prices are affecting their business badly”.

  23. Deco

    <>

    I wonder how to we restore the ‘brand’ after all the damage done by ANIB, the 8 Billion loan that ‘matured’ after a few days, Permo, Fingleton and family, Boucher’s track record, the D4 banking culture, Matrin Cullen, Mary O’Rourke, CIE, ESB, FAS, Gerry uRyan, Ahern’s golden handshake, Michael Lowry, “Seanie Fitz”, Bono’s patriotism(“I am Irish and proud to be Irish” – ‘just don’t ask me to contribute to the Irish tax system’), Smiley O’Brien’s tax status etc., etc,

    It starts with institutional reform !!!

  24. most of the earliest names indicate we came from outside the island of ireland …eg lynch ( boat people ) mc na mara ~( sons of the sea ) sullivan ( pirates) gallaher ( boat people from the boat named gal ) leahy ( low tide arrival people ) finnucan ( soldiers from the harbour ) etc etc
    when the icelanders became bankrupt we as a nation never offered them financial support even though many icelanders are of irish blood such as the decendents of irish slaves in westmann islands se iceland

  25. Skin

    Isnt there a slight problem with all of this?
    If we start dishing out Irish passports to the diaspora, then effectively we would be dishing out EU passports. Not sure how the Italians, Germans and Polish would view the possibilty of hundreds of thousands of Irish-Americans turning up on their doorsteps at any particular time.
    Assuming they viewed it to be a positive thing, then its quite likely that they might want to tap into their American communities.

    What would then occur is that the citizens of the US (about 75%) would benefit by holding EU passports – and we would still have the issue of illegal immigrants, of all nationalities, in the US.

    • VincentH

      the funny thing is they do this anyway, if you are born in the place, you can Vote in the place. SOOOOOOO skin, a problem.

  26. pera

    Tim asked if I could contribute to the 5 steps. I have to admit that I have found it very hard to find even one point or suggestion. The reasons for this has been mentioned by me before and by several others such as Philip, Deco etc… Institutional reform as Deco put it

    The only system in Ireland at this stage is systemic cronyism and lack of incentives to improve. There does not seem to be any pattern in anything and any attempts to create a system is usually foiled by ineptitude or by vested interests? But this has all been covered in other posts.

    I could always wish for changes in tax system, capping PS pay at 120k, changes in political system to move away from parish pump politics, integrity seen as something positive etc. But I decided to be realistic, that is not going to happen.

    First one small rant: Ireland does not have public services beyond what you would expect as minimum in any country. So there is no need to pay the management in public sector 2-3 times more than comparable countries, especially since they are not actually managing anything. Most of Ireland public sector spend goes to fixed wages, welfare payments, pensions, professional services, commitees etc..

    There is absolutely no chance that Ireland is ever going to be able to cut any wages, every little change is going to be challenged in court. Just look at IMO on how they are taking the government to court over the changes in overtime for junior doctors.

    So the below point are based on the following:
    -Ireland has one of the biggest stimulus packages (Spend 55 bill – Revenue 34 bill = 21 bill euro)
    -This package is mostly tied up in direct payments to people.
    - The government has no way of shifting or redirecting this stimulus package
    So the success of this huge stimulus package is dependent on these people spending and investing this money. So with these premises part of the recovery would be seen as increasing internal demand (not sure if it is a good idea, but it seems to be the only option as government stimulus package has gone into peoples pockets)

    1: Ireland has to make up its mind. Does it want to go the european way or the american way (with added corruption ofcourse) But either way, always keep in mind that it is never a government tasks to make its employees rich. Now it seems to be a very strange mix of everything as partially seen in the heath system

    2: slash all cyclical taxes and start phasing in sustainable taxes. Now is the time to do it.

    3: With the assumption that the government spend all goes to fixed non-stimulating costs as mentioned above. Increase taxes as suggested in vincent brownes article today. With this you can achieve 2 things. One, the government will be able to recoup part of the stimulus package and re-prioritze its use, in infrastructure projects etc. Two, alternatively the government can include phased tax breaks to stimulate people to invest money in energy efficiency, invest in companies, rescue bonds etc.

    4: Depending on what people want (european way or american way) Ireland needs to make up its mind on how it runs it health system. No point in having a hybrid health system, where it seems as if private hospitals are directly or indirectly funded by the public.

    5: The government needs to communicate more. Give us an idea of what to expect, so that we can start planning, even if they cant

    I seem to be a bit incoherent in my writing style today, but hopefully some of my points came across, but I will add more and try to clarify later. But these are some of the points that I can see be done even with the huge constraint I put on myself, Institutional reform is not going to happen this time around either

  27. lets turn the table around and change the goal posts for a moment – JAPAN…has an ageing population and increasing and will represent 60% of the national population in near future – can we transplant ourselves there with a green book and continue where the japanese left off and recreate a new transfer industrial colony ?

  28. Deco

    Pera – I will take you up on your point [ Ireland has to make up its mind. Does it want to go the european way or the american way (with added corruption ofcourse) ].

    Our public sector contains a hierarchy that makes any attempt to implement the (continental West) European model of society impossible. Basically there is too much institutional incompetence. Just look at all the money wasted by the HSE.

    Our private sector networks, cronyism, market rigging, self regulating(or should that be rigging) industries, our (so-called) professional bodies and class obsession(D4 as it is called here) make the American model unworkable. American capitalism is based on vigourous competition in all sectors to deliver the consumer better value. The membership of IBEC would balk at thought of such an eventuality occurring here.

    Therefore we end up with a compromise. An Irish solution to an Irish problem. The worst of both models. But hey the vested interests are happy and the rest of us are involved in various levels of self-delusion, which makes us happy as well.

    Until, we are faced with our responsibilities and we have to sober up and get our house in order. Which might happen now. Never underestimate the ability of the powers that be to mislead everybody once again, in a herd like surge nowhere, usually signposted by loads of statements about pride etc… all with the explicit purpose of keeping a lid on things.

  29. pera

    Deco, you summarized it very well. The basis of my points were that I do not think any of this is going to change this time either.

    In one way I do not mind the public sector wasting money. They can build unprofitable infrastructure projects, they can fund improbable research, they can too much of the wrong equipment, get bad deals etc… But the important aspect is that these kind of things spread money into the economy and can easily be amended every year or so, so that other projects cn be started. But if this waste is all tied up into current and fixed expenditure, it gives the government no leeway

  30. wills

    @deco;
    Why are we always following somebody else….? its time to go our own way i would suggest and set the new course.., something new no others are trying….. keep up your posts … always good read

    @bloggers;
    Lived abroad myself few years, usa and europe.
    Americans see Ireland thru tinted glasses and pitstop onto europe. Ireland for usa gov is a giant aircraft carrier for corporatism gateway into europe. Americans i find generally see irish as simpletons. The simpsons gets close to it. The sight of biffo licking obama arse with a bowl of shamrocks yesterday waffling on about green shoots is and obamas tight facial tick and tongue clacking roof of his mouth while biffo like a drunken sailor dribbled his primary school platitudes all over the podium as clintons squirmed in their undies,.. shows me a coupla things….

    1. American corporatism is done and dusted with Irish charm and leprechaun eye twinkling come in to me parlour fair. Ireland has proven to the world we are a nation of greedy children and clueless in spending easy credit. Our Irish credibility has evapourated in a puff of smoke, which might be a blessing in disguise.. cos now we are going to have to fall back on good old self reliance and grow up and be adults.

    2. Americans who come here basking in Irish blarney are i hate to sat this rather lost and directionless and it is sad the way we have exploited this and it will come back to haunt us.

    3. The Ireland we are looking for is a work in progress and this is what perhaps David is reaching for. An Ireland we have yet to discover for ourselves, no help from uk, usa, europe, just us figuring it out for ourselfs and harnessing its potential, whatever it is,…

    • Malcolm McClure

      Wills: Now that you have gotten off your banking/credit hobby-horses, you bring fresh fodder for us to chew on. It contains reasonable criticism some will disagree with, but that is worth bearing in mind.
      Anyone who saw Jon Stewart’s St Patricks parade review could appreciate the Irish image that most Americans are familiar with. –We are a nation of good humoured drunken youngsters, bent on avoiding the serious discussion of anything when others are present.

      • wills

        @malcolm;
        Much thanks on your honest appraisal of my posting manner relating to banking credit. I would like to take the opportunity to settle any concern that any hobby horse tone or demeanor if it is the case is really i jest not accidental and best seen in the light of how animated in determination to see Ponzi credit/debt slave monetary system crumble into dust.

  31. pera

    One point that I did not mention, but that Wills is touching upon in his post is the way that Ireland has lured investment here through all its incentives and low corporation tax. When I first heard of it I thought Easy come, easy go. In one way it is stealing from other countries.

    In addition a lot of human capital and resources have been put into the foreign companies and all the companies that were started to service them. Would Ireland have been better of if they had been forced to generate their own economy instead or would it never have worked due to the institutionally challenges ireland have which Deco have elaborated on.

    It is kind of depressing to hear the government talking about being well positioned for the upturn, instead of talking about contributing to the upturn. It is a very defeatist statement, to not believe that country can contribute to the upturn, but instead just cling on when it comes

    • Deco

      Pera – “the government talking about being well positioned for the upturn”.

      They don’t know. It is as simple as that. They have only got one economic policy ‘talk the economy up’. Two Lawyers and a social worker in charge.

      Shane Ross is the star of the Oireachtas on economic matters. And he gets shunned because he revealed the FAS Fiasco to the public.

  32. wills

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/17/us-injecting-billions-int_n_175454.html

    @bloggers,..

    please goto above link for overall narrative.

    Also……

    READ VINCENT BROWNES ARTICLE IN IRISH TIMES, link

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0318/1224243006908.html

    … here is the solution for upcoming mini budget to pass…..

  33. Philip

    Very little I can add. Pretty solid stuff.

    I think the Diaspora idea is a “nice” one. But we lack the self respect and sense of civic duty at an institutional level (unlike Israel) to be able to pull this off in a professional and enhancing manner to the rest of the world. And believe me, the has to be some sugar for all involved – EU, US etc. It must be correct both in terms of perception and execution.

    @Pera & Deco. You highlight so well the institutional crisis which has as its basis a lack of morality and duty to our fellow man. This is high moral ground stuff, I know. But, until people are made accountable and punished severely – nothing will happen.

    @Wills. I have to agree with you. We need to start ploughing our own field for a change. Dammit, we have the smarts, but you’ll be sued or hit with a libel claim before you get started. I am fresh out of ideas. Change for sure will occur as people’s dire circumstances sink in. But this is the scary bit – poultice of revolt which initiates change – who starts to fill the vacuum? Will the change be carried out correctly and professionally enough in a manner that keeps things stable? But if too stable, will we just see the same nonsense re-emerge.

    To be honest, I welcome new blood. Such as has never been Irish. I welcome the Poles, Nigerians and all the rest of them with Gene pools that are millions of years separated from Oirishness. Let the Diaspora stay where it is for now. Treat it as a door opener – rather like a CV – the subsequent deal / interview is different matter altogether.

  34. As bad and perhaps ageist as this may sound, i’ll say it anyways. This nation is only going to get a competant government when people stop voting along Civil War lines. As a studier of history, I cannot undestand why people still vote as their grandparents do- and it is this stupidity and lack of forsight for the future that has us so messed up. It doesn’t matter how bad a government messes up, i’m going to vote because my father voted…my grandfather voted….and so on. That is why Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are so staid, useless and incapable of leading a 21st century Republic- because a certain portion of the electorate votes for the party of Eamon De Valera, the other for the party that associates itself with Michael Collins. The Civil War happed 87 YEARS AGO, if these idiots actually took time to view the priorities and suggestions of different political parties then the parties would have to make an EFFORT. But no, pathetically people vote as their parents and grandparents then- regardless of the banking crisis/ recession, bog standard housing, inflated land prices (which is putting agriculture on the brink of collapse) or any other crises. Having read the book ‘Judging dev’ and reading the wikipedia entry on De Valera I can honestly say I admire the man and consider him on par with Burke, Grattan, Emmet, O’ Connell and Parnell- but people cannot vote on the same patterns as their parents did, because they we’re completely different circumstances. And as somebody who’s great-grandparents received land thanks to the land commission, I can honestly say that farmers need to be stripped of all rights, bar that of producing food and produce, or if needs be selling the land for none other than agriculture, and at its ‘agricultural price’. They have clearly shamed themselves, and a once proud livelihood with their own selfishness. If you want to know why houses are so expensive, it is because land is been sold at ten times its agricultural price, this disgraceful system needs to be tackled at home- these sort of problems cannot be sorted out by anybody in Boston, London or Sydney, it must start here.
    Stop focusing on the banks on the time, are you aware that our nations farmers are making landfall gains on your backs, from the land that was won for them by Parnell, Gladstone and the land commision? Are you aware that this is why you have to live in county Cavan and Wexford? And I put my money where my mouth is, because my wider family own land, and I don’t believe that it should be used to grow crops, or if it need happen to sell ONLY at its agricultural prices. Why is everybody focusing on bankers and developers, are you not aware that something like 40% worth of your house’s value is filling the pockets of farmers? This cannot be right. Why is that the political party that once gave us noble (if somewhat misguided economically at times) leaders such as De Valera and Lemass, has still not recovered from its Charles Haughey crony era of politics? Its bloody ridiculous, 30 years later and still nothing is been done to reform the Irish political system. Then again if their are any Americans/ Canadians/ Britons/ Argentinans/ Australians/ South Africans as David Mcwilliams suggest could help with this problem, then please come along, because come to think of it so many of our great leaders had backgrounds not from here.
    We need a new Charles Stewart Parnell to sort out the disgraceful bad attitude, and corruption and degradation in both urban and rural Ireland due to the abuse of land, and its financial worth. To put it another way (and as somebody whos family owns arable and pasture)- the Bull McCabes needs a kick up their arses, that I believe would sort out the mess, just as much as taking a tough line with the banks, or looking for investment from the diaspora.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Davi,

      I agree 100% regards your farmers. I’ve often wrote about then here as a priviledged group they are, but got shot down by many people here when I proposed reforms. They are asset rich! Their biggest concern is who’s going to inherit the precious land when they die.

      If I decided to be a farmer tomorrow morning, I’d need millions of euros to fall from the sky onto me to make it possible. Its really crazy!

      And farmers have sent their children to be educated in our universities for free (pre 1995), and claiming support grants to boot. The corrupt system has the farmers’ interests top of the list.

      • Tim

        Colin, I usually agree with you, but I am a farmer’s son and I had to pay my own 3rd level fees from 1985-1989.

        I applaud the fact that Niamh Breannach introduced free 3rd level fees in 1997.

        Best thing this country ever did -despite the bad press; which is dependent on govt. contracts, anyway.

        I have witnessed, personally, so many kids go on to 3rd level that would not, otherwise, have done so, that I MUST say: those who tell you that the lower echelons of society have not benefitted from the free 3rd level scheme ARE LIARS. (Now, what they EARN, having bothered to goto 3rd level, is a different matter).

        It’s NOT true; the kids I teach will benefit – ’cause they are not rich; the kids I have taught have benefitted. We must maintain it so.

  35. We have things a*seways in this country. Certain things that are Centralised, should be decentralised. Certain things that are DeCentralised. For instance many communities that want a decentralised political system want all the benifits of a more centralised system when it comes to infrastructure etc., but cannot achieve it because of their own systems in operation. Some want their cake and to eat it at the same time, all the time- so that somebody is perfectly happy to put their own interests first, in their own fiefdoms such as the Kingdom of Kerry, or the Peoples Republic of Cork, but are more than happy to let the rest of the country subsidise them on large projects. Its all take and no give, the sort of people who sprout so much about democratic rights- forgeting that the amount of responsbilities in our laws and consitution probably more than balances the rights.
    We need to set up a tax system based on a system of quotas. For instance the fact that 40% of the Irish population lives in the Greater Dublin area should imply that this area gets 40% of the taxes in the state. Also such things as the national public transport system and road building need to be privatised because more often than not they are not eschewed towards a minority who put their own parishes before the national interest. Our yellow bellied government panders to such interests- a private company with money to make based on the old simple “supply and demand” will not for a second waste time on whether Ballyhere, or Killathere deserves this or that.
    Also I think farmers should be stripped of all rights in regards to zoning. First of all a commonly heald assumption is that land ownership involves the right to property, protected by consitution. First of all thats a terrible mistake to make- there is a difference to aquiring or buying a property, and on the other hand allowing yourself to zone land yourself. Wherever this attitude came from is a mystery- but it has become so embeded in this country that it is thought of as a right to do “whatever I want” with “my land”, and that land ownership implies no custodian values or proper stewardship. Its a selfish attitude, and an undeserving one. If land is going to be sold, it must be enshrined in law that it can only be sold for its agricultural worth- regardless of whether it is too a developer or the government. The government needs to enforce compulsary purchase near cities and large towns, because the population cannot continue to suffer for such a bunch of self-serving, greedy crowd that our farmers have become. Also where people are setting up to live, regardless of whether it is in Towns, Villages or open countryside we need a national equivalent of the Cork Rural Design Guidelines, but on a national level and enfroced, It is disgraceful to assume that because you have purchased a piece land, whether in the country or in a built up area that you can simply do whatever you want. No thats false, the land is of course yours and cannot be taken from you, thats what you paid for. You did not get that half-acre or so to do whatever you want. The sea change in rural, regardless of whether country or village, design and standing has been badly damaged since the 1980s, thanks to careless individuals who have given the countryside, and country people a bad name. This is where I believe that anybody in this so-called diaspora might become useful, it would seem that they would have more respect for our rural and urban situation, than the post 1960s, me-me-me gernations that have ruined the once beautiful Ireland. By stepping in and enforcing new measure, perhaps with guidance and wise council from bright and colourful members of this apparent disapora, that we can fix the country- both on a national and a local level, because we ourselves have disgraced ourselves with our selfishness, which is rather odd when you consider our 1,600 years of Christian heritage, and all that we once gave the world- we cant even run this sod properly. While I don’t consider the diaspora authentic in most regards, maybe David McWilliams has a good point, after all- its very easy to change a bad situation, simply let some capable people into the country, and they will work wonders for us. I also write this, because many from America and other countries that I know, have commented and are digusted at the state, and more importantly the look of the modern.

    • Deco

      Davi-again, there is a problem with the planning process in Ireland. It is rotten with political corruption. The planning process is not objective, takes no account of human or environmental requirements. It is effectively about who can provide the biggest bribes to the most corrupt office holder.

      We seen it in the tribunals. The tribunals themselves were a completely ineffective means of putting an end to corruption. Very effective from the perspective of the North Dublin maFFia, however.

  36. Tim

    Folks, Do you know what?

    I have spent all evening reading you all, without posting intermittently, as I usually do. (Maybe, also, that is because I arrived late to this article, due to pressures of work, but no matter).

    The fact is: you got me thinking. Initially, I was rankled a little by the very negative responses to David’s article (I confess to a little dose of “Hero-worship” there); then I was a little rankled by the posts that seemed to question the “irishness” of anyone not born on the island – I was not. (I was born the son of immigrants in America, who emigrated from Ireland; what a difference the substitution of an “i” for an “e” makes to some people, eh?

    Then, I suppose, I emigrated from the US to Ireland, while my parents, simply, “re-patriated”. Now, it seems, I may be an immigrant from the US, selon the definition of some posters. Jeez!

    I do not think that this is what DMcW was getting at – I actually think that he was using an idea/ideas posted in the “5s” back on “Crisis to Opportunity” (thanks, Ruairi, it WAS your idea and for your positive posts; and thanks Pera, I will add your “5″ to that list, for people to analyse), in order to invite both us and the newspaper-readers (do we sometimes forget about them?) to think “outside-the-box”, or to “try everything”. And that’s the point – we have to try everything and anything. We have to be willing to fail-yet-dust-ourselves-off-and-get-up-again and try something else.

    I did not feel fully “engaged” with this thread until I read Deco’s first post – salient, as usual (thanks again, Deco – Trojan work!). I felt a little alienated as I tried to measure up to the definitions of “Irishness” and who constitutes the valid “diaspora”. I have close family and friends in many countries around the world: America, Australia, Canada, France, South Africa, Sweden, Britain, Germany, etc.. Are their children Irish? I think they are. I think I am.

    Contrary to much comment here tonight, I am proud to be Irish (in a good way, Deco, not the false pride thing). Apart from the US, I had never been to any other country in the world until last summer, when I had to accompany my wife to Britain for her cousin’s wedding.

    That’s right; I have never been on a holiday since I was a kid in the Catskills mountains in upstate New York. I did not leave Ireland; I did not feel the need to. I still don’t. Even my honeymoon was spent in Connemara. I have lived here in Ireland since 1976 (when it really was a third-world country, in my view, and quite the “culture-shock” to me) and, apart from visiting family and friends in the US and working there, summers, to pay my college fees here, I never left it until those three days last summer. I had applied for my first ever Irish passport so that I could fly to “British Midland” with my wife and two children. I had complications with the application and delays, because the passport office needed my original (not a photcopy) birthe cert from New York and my parents’ marriage certificate and birth cert. All the people complaining about “public servants” and “bloatedness” are jus believing the media spin and IBEC – these people helped me. In the end, the equavalent of the “Births, Marriages and Deaths” office in New York ended up sending the FIRST EVER “scanned” copy of an original birth-cert to the Irish passport office for them to issue me with an “emergency passport”, because the “snail-mail” passport was not going to be on time (thank you, “Declan” in Drogheda!). The Irish public servants broke new ground for me; the New York public servants broke new ground for me. The public servants at the bottom/on the frontline are GOOD people.

    Was I “proud”, when I first held my first-ever Irish passport? YES I WAS!

    Why?.

    Why did I choose to learn the Irish language? I liked it. I became fluent (well, cuiosoch liofa) and attained higherlevel in my inter and leaving certs in it – I am very proud of that. (a language is a VERY important ingredient of cultural identity)

    Yeah, its “damp” here most of the time; Yeah, we have all the corruption/cronyism/scheming/spinning of the ruling class that Deco eloquently elucidates, but just look at Italy for a “corruption-comparison”.

    But, look at Seamus Heaney tonight? I can recite many of his poems; I love it. Look at Shaw, Wilde, Yeats, Kavanagh, Kinsella, Joyce, Newman, Longly, Mahon; Banville.

    WE LOVE LANGUAGE and communication.

    Look at The Dubliners, the Pogues, the Cranberries, U2, the Hothouseflowers, In Tua Nua, Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher; the list goes on…….

    Even Maeve Binchy, Deirdre Purcell and Marion Keyes; all best-selling authors internationally.

    All from this little island on the edge of Europe.

    Am I Irish?

    I don’t know, tonight. But I THINK I am. and I want to be.

    I live in beautiful Wicklow and commute to Dublin, every day. I could have afforded a house in Dublin, in 1995, just about, when there were ruleson borrowing in banking back then…..

    I drive home, every evening; and, once I get to the “Glen of the Downs”, I actually feel like I am “on Holiday”. There is something special about the light on the trees there.

    I live here; and I love where I live. I get up every morning (and I will tomorrow), and I look out my front window and I see Wicklow bay, the two “Sugarloafs” (should that be “loaves”?), Bray head, Howth Head, and, on a clear day, Lambay Island. I love it.

    Am I “Irish”?

    I think so. Therefore, I am so.

    • Regardless of whether the pen and paper has you down as Irish, I can honestly assess from your post that you deserve some acknowledgement on your efforts to blend into Ireland. Its great to have people move back you left the country years ago, perhaps they appreciate this country more than us and the people who run it. And you seem keen on genuine Irishness, not the nonsense that passes for Irishness in Irish pubs and St Patrick’s Day parades in other countries.
      Lol and I have to admit I envy the location of your gaff!! Wicklow is the garden of Ireland, a truly special county- its actually a semi-wilderness, and was never really deforested like the rest of the country over the centuries, so the sun lighting up the trees is certainly special- nothing like the Irish landscape at a good time. That and you get to work and visit the big smoke! The best of both worlds.

      • Tim

        Davi-Again, Thank you, very much for eading what, I know, was a long post – but, I felt, it had to be, in order to explain that “We’re not-so-bad”, really.

        Any chance that we can, (like DMcW, I think,) focus on the GOOD things we have and try to save ourselves with what is positive?

        • Lol not sure if thats possible. Even Samuel Johnson 200 years ago famously quipped “the Irish are a fair race, they never speak well of one another”.
          Ireland is probably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with one of the most developed democracies and system of government in the world- I think a little bit of nudging in the right direction would make this country a remarkable little nation- its just that action has to be taken before we can become that nation.

          • Tim

            Davi-Again, Now, that’s what I like to hear: let’s do what Deco (quite rightly) says, get RID of the bolloxes who are screwing us, and MAKE this country what it CAN be!

            I want Deco to run for office in the forthcoming EU elections, so I am biased.

    • Tim

      BTW, Descartes deserves the credit for myt finale, there.

      • Sorry had to something there, I have a very long weekend, not back until Monday, lucky me lol.
        Tim as an American is it true that Benjamin Franklin was preserved in a cask of madeira? If so I really wish that he mysteriously returned- because he would get my vote as the Irish taoiseach.
        Lol but we have to be realistic, so i’ll agree to deco running for EU elections. Come to think of it- why doesn’t David McWilliams and people like him run for government. I mean where the hell do we get the arseholes that pass for politicians in this country, they shouldn’t have got qualifications in the first place. This is a great and beautiful country, it should be led by a Benjamin Franklin, but instead we get the Haughey’s of the world. And I have books from relatives from New Jersey, New England and Virginia and I find it amusing that the Wicklow Mountains actually do resemeble the Catskill Mountains, the Virginia highlands, Berkshires in Massachusetts and river valleys of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Perhaps they we’re once joined together.

        • jim

          Nope sorry to dissapoint but we were parked in the Southern hemisphere for a while,drifted up to the Equator attached to the Scots,landed where we are today,just after we parked England broke away from mainland Europe,crashed into us,creating the Highlands of Scotland and broke its own back creating the Pennines.Them auld Brits never really got the hang off Parallel parking, a bit like my missus, keep that last bit to yourself,wink wink.

    • Colin_in_exile

      Tim,

      After leaving the most progressive country in the world at the time, with all its mod cons etc…, and arriving in Ireland, a third world country at the time, and adjusting to the culture shock, did you ever stop and ask your parents if they were, you know, how will i put it, soft in the head?

      Have you any opinion on Frank McCourt’s stance/experience of what kind of country Ireland is/was? I notice you left him out of your list, which includes “Maeve Binchy, Deirdre Purcell and Marion Keyes”. Come on Tim, McCourt is the greatest living Irish author. And he’s interesting, and would tell us a few hometruths too!

      • Tim

        Colin_in_exile, Sorry, of course I shoud have mentioned McCourt (though I am not prepared to call him the greatest living Irish author) – he is so much a part of me, that I sometimes overlook him – because I hold the same view of Ireland at the “third-world” time as he seems to.

        Yes, I asked my parents many times why they did it – they wanted to “come home” was all they ever said.

        “Home” – that’s what they called this country even while they lived in the US; they never really said the word “Ireland”; they always just said “home”. There is something in that, I reckon. For me, “home” is wherever I am with my wife and kids – I like to think I would feel happy and “at home” anywhere.

        Not so, for my parents and, I think, alot of the Irish diaspora: there is resentment in some, yes, but in many there is a terrible longing for “home”.

        • wills

          @tim;
          Post on your backstory read with much interest. For what it is worth, as a native born and raised here, i for one would not be too hung up on whether one was born here or not when it comes to a “love of Ireland”. I believe anyone who lives here and lives in peace and delight in appreciating the unique beauty of this emerald isle of ours is good enough in my books to qualify to be considered an Irish man/ woman. I think this sense of irishness you posted yesterday is real and true and the st pats side of things is an infantile inversion on what Ireland is, and unfortunately irishness and non natives chance to come here and discover is tangled up in false flag waving, jingoism, gombeenism and sh1te. I am of the persuasion the more creative non natives we get here in the mix on this island the more magnificent Ireland can become and discover a new way of living for the upcoming changes and challenges we are all faced with on the planet.

          • Tim

            wills, cheers. I have always considered myself Irish and still do, despite some people’s notions of what that means. My parents are both Irish from Kerry/Limerick border. A good friend of mine who is something of a geneology expert, assures me that my family originally came to Ireland from Denmark with the “Norsemen”. The common DNA of the Irish has recently been traced back to its origins in Africa. The people moved here; the celts moved here; when I studied “Stair na Teanga” in school, I learned that even the Irish language has roots in French, Latin and some German (if I recall correctly). People seem to “flow-through” Ireland throughout history and do so now: Are the decendants of the famine ship people in America still Irish? Many of them say they are; what of the decendants of those who were sent by the British authorities to Australia – are they still Irish? Many of them say they are.

            I guess, the whole point here, as DMcW intimates, is that if 70 million people all over the world wish to associate themselves with this little Island then we should associate with THEM. We must not say:”You were not born here, so you are not Irish, really and, so, you’re not in the club and we do not want to know what you might bring to the party”.

            That would be ludicrous. Try telling that to Teddy Kennedy, Bill Clinton or George Mitchell and see what their response is! Not to mention the children of, say Gabriel Byrne or poor ol’ Liam Neeson (God love him, now). I was surprised, yesterday, by the number of posts expressing that notion – that’s why it took me so long to post – I wanted to gather my thoughts on the matter first, rather than post something intemperate, defensive and reactionary.

            Right now, and in the testing time ahead, we must all try in our daily interactions, to be “thinking-people” and not shoot from the hip, as it were; we are going to need all the patience and calm that we can muster:
            “If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs, then you’ll be a man, my son.” ….. sort of stuff. Because, I fear, many about us WILL lose their heads, wills.

            That is something we should actually plan for and work out how to diffuse the simmering ire in the pressure-cooker that alot of people do not even realise is heating up.

            Of course I am Irish and I want us to come through this problematic time and we will – as a people, we have survived much: the tribal in-fighting that actually facilitated the occupation by Britain, the penal laws, the famine, the civil war (my great-grand uncle David wrote “The Spy in the Castle” about his involvement with Collins), the economic collapse that was the ’80s and now this. I just hope that, this time, we can come through it leaving less historical “baggage” for future generations to carry than was handed to us.

            We have a good chance: better advantages than previous generations to deal with these matters; a better understanding of psychology, better education standards for the majority, the internet, DMcW’s ideas and our own interaction with same, bouncin g ideas around and teasing them out.

            None of our forebears had any of these tools at their disposal to aid them in adversity. We have.

            We are using them.

            Let us all use them thoughtfully.

    • I think therefore I am, nice one Tim, finally you took the time to put a post here of length instead of your arse licking comments to each individual tread , you are learning I shall believe.
      Trouble is Irishness education and economics all have different meanings for many of us Paddies who were born here and then traveled only to come home when the days of greed were reaching their peak. Since you managed to avoid going to the UK or mainland Europe to make your college fees, maybe now with your teaching holidays , you should take your wife to Italy and my friends there will show you a working health system and how local business don’t play with central government.While creches are provided by your employers. Or go to Amsterdam see the Woman in the windows or buy a small bag of that hash or grass stuff all well policed and taxed too , while their buses trains and trams arrived on the tabled time. What I’m saying is the Irish man who went to Holland sees a different perspective than a Irish person sharing his area with a lot less people.
      Right now Ireland as we have know it needs what ever help she can get from any source and while we won’t nor should we go back to the un even society we have had here , we should be careful with The Irish we’d let come live on this small chunk off the coast of Europe.
      Oh I hope you had a good day meeting the lads here the weekend gone ?….
      I also work with a section of the Irish Media ( a regional ) and while there is Libel laws , they are more worried about loosing their local council’s cheques. Now though they are loosing The Motor, Job, and Property revenues ,..so soon we will see Regional papers start to Question what are Our Government Doing ?…..when this happens ,..How many of US Irish will take to the streets for political change ?

      • Tim

        BrendanW, glad you “got it” (with the Decartes). Your posts, certainly challenge me.

        I would dearly love to visit your friends in Italy with my wife, if only the goddamn government was not sticking its hand into my pocket so much and stealing my money. “Holidays”, you see, are only good if you have sufficient money to spend on enjoying them. Teachers don’t.

        Italy, though, perhaps, a more corrupt government than ours, is a country I truly want to visit. I love food and cooking and a friend went there last year (self-employed, plenty money) and told me that, even, the tomatoes taste different; he said that I have never, really tasted a REAL tomatoe, until I go there. I will go, sometime before I die, but while they are taxing me and levying me AND levying my (deferred salary) pension, I can go no-where. I am not too bothered, because I am happy where I am. But I WOULD like to have the choice.

        I have a brother in Stockholm, who has all the social services you mention – so I know about them. In the late ’90s, I campaigned for “parental Leave” and convinced John O’Donoghue not to seek his little “derrogation” from Europe; we got 3 weeks, unpaid, entitlement. My job, since, has been to push that envelope and try to get the entitlements that my brother has (equal rights with his female partner).

        The “Manic Street Peachers”, again: “If you tolerate this, then your children will be next”.

        I do not want my son to go through this: chronic post-partem depression in the mother of his child, while he HAS to goto work to feed his family, with a doctor telling him NOT to leave his son alone with its mother because she is in such a state. I have a DUTY to my son, to make this better BEFORE he has to deal with it. And I will.

        On the “small bag of that hash or grass stuff”, I don’t do it. I did smoke it, once, by accident, when I accepted a “roll-up” from a friend who always smoked “roll-up” cigarettes anyway. It did nothing for me, but gave me the BIGGEST headache I have evr had, the next morning. NOT doin’ that again!

        I agree, that Ireland needs whatever help it can get, but should not “open the borders” any more than they already are – I do not believe that is what DMcW was getting at in this article, anyway.

        “Meeting the lads” did not happen for me. Furrylugs did not answer my phone-call, so I did not undertrake the four-hour round-trip to Tullamore. I left a voicemail – nothing.

        I know about the libel laws – I worked with Connor Brady’s wife, while I wanted to sue him. What protected him, at the time, was the extant libel law, supported by the fact that the IT survives on government advertising.

        I want to see us ALL “on the streets”. I have been on them EVERY time. I am a Trade Unionist and I believe in solidarity. I march, I spend money to hire people who have no work. I will continue to do these things.

        BrendanW, …… was that a sufficiently long post, for you?

    • justinf

      wonderful writing. it was inspiring and uplifting reading that Tim. thank you.

  37. Tim

    Ronan, The site will not allow me to paste Pera’s “5″ on page 3 of “Crisis to Opportunity”. Why is that?

    Can you , please, “sort it out”?

    Thanks,

    Tim.

  38. Tim

    Furrylugs, are you here?

    We need your insight.

    Please return?

  39. Tim

    Furrylugs, Correction:

    I would like your insight.

    Kind regards,

    Tim.

  40. Tim

    Davi-Again, Any chance that you might be willing to formulate your ideas into 5 points?

    I know it will take time and very few people have time; but, if you can manage to do it, it would be great.

    • My five points would be

      (1) Reform the government at all levels, becuase it is the ineptitude of government ministers that is causing our economy and society so many problems. Issues such as taxation, and a proper assessment of what should be centralised, or in other cases decentralised.

      (2) Using compulsary purchase of land, free up locked areas around urban areas so that the people can remain within the Dublin area, closers to work/ family/ entertainment etc. Also land purchased should have full ownership rights, but come with conditions- particulary if constucting a house for a family member or friend.

      (3) A complete review of Transport 21- and possibly new ideas such as the privatisation of busy routes currently run by Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann and Iarnroid Eireann, so the distribution of the transport infrastructure is done on a sound and practical basis, not becasue some so-and-so “wants this, because that fellas has that” and so on. For instance, with the exception of the lines constructed by the Congested Districts Board in the late 19th century in the West of the country- the majority of Irelands railways we’re constructed and run by private companies. Also the metro is a complete waste- 10 new luas lines could probably be constructed at the same expense, as well as connecting up the two existing ones.

      (4) Try and be a first in developing safe GM foods. We should pursue this because agriculture is still an important exporting factor in our economy, and thanks to land mismanagement and corruption, the crazy prices put on agricultural and can be put to better use. Also Ireland, in comparison to lets say America or France is very closed with no open lands, or rights of ways. More productive farmland will result in land been freed up for other purposes such as recreation, forests and other non-agricultural uses (similiar to Wicklow). I also support the largest planting of hedgerows in 200 years all over the country, hedgerows a lot of people don’t realise, are actually very important.

      (5) And more importantly find new ways of keeping US multinationals here, instead of moving to Eastern Europe. We are an English speaking country on the edge of Europe so I don’t know perhaps we’ll always have this advantage. Also whenever we see banks or copmanies collapsing in America, we should try and get those companies to move here, with the promise of low taxes, and an educated english speaking workforce. Also we should try and use the Corrib gas line to regenerate the west of Ireland- providing employment, and a vital natural resource (something Ireland has very little of), Also perhaps there is a way for some large companies to split into smaller groups, and having plants or offices in different towns and villages, keeping employment in rural areas. Also lift the rug from underneath land speculation- it is such a f*cking waste of our time, money and resources thats its sickening- it does absolutely nothing for anybody bar a few greedy sods, and anyways is nothing but land (or more to be point, grazing ground). If land is sorted out, people can live in Dublin again, full stop.

      • Philip

        Davi, can I suggest adding
        (6) Setting up a Stubbs Gazette for Ethics. Call it “Caveat PreEmptor”. Use it for business dealings, community engagement etc. Get a registered voting system working on it. Ebay do it in their ratings. Why not extend the idea. Maybe even put a Diaspora positive bias test to it. This is not JUST about doing business with people we know we can trust, this is about creating a “credit”/credibility rating based on results delivered.

        • Deco

          We need reform of the Libel Law. Lenihan ‘reformed’ the libel laws of Ireland. I suspect he shut the media up even more. Great news for Ireland’s crooks. In New York and London you see crime bosses with their real names and their photos in the newspapers. Here we have the ‘viper’, the ‘monk’ etc.. so as to not damage the right of relevant people in an illegal sector, from claiming that ‘damage to their good name and character’.

          I reckon this thing is the source of a lot of the evil in Irish society. It is a “crook’s charter”. None of the crooks in the Dail want to see it overturned or reformed.

  41. MK1

    Hi David,

    I’m sure you’ve written about the Irish diaspora opportunity before, probably around this time last year too. I think it is one of your ‘pet points, if I may term it that’. However, my thoughts on it as still as before:
    a) we are already playing that card
    b) there is not that much mileage (=benefit) in it
    Yes, use it as much as we can but its not going to solve our problems.

    By the way, your fixation with Israel is another of your ‘pet points’. Maybe time to find other countries for examples of ‘methods’ that have worked.

    A belated Happy Paddy’s Day by the way.

    MK1

    • Tim

      MK1, I was waiting to read you on this one. Thank you for arriving;

      I think that this article is about more than economics, though.

      It may be about “hearts and minds” (credit Tony Blair with that one).

      What happens if you “turn – off” your “Alastair Moody eye” and turn on the other one?

    • justinf

      another good example is the chinese community worldwide. there’s very much a global “chinese network” which has similar traits to the Israeli example. and its not government sponsored – its very much a network based on family ties back to the “home” country.

  42. jim

    I was thinking of all these Westmeath people that left for Argentina years ago,Nugents,Buckleys,etc and wondered when one of their decendants would turn up for the World Cup with Argentina, Maradonna Buckley has a ring to it,lol.The FAI would be rooting around for birth certs looking to sign Him. In return we might get a hurler for Galway Sean Og O Delgado, a nifty little corner forward. I suppose in recent times we have aligned ourselves with the Anglo/Saxon type culture even though some people dont realise that they originated from north of the Rhine in Europe.We have the ancestors of the Normans,Danes,Vikings,Celts,right back to the Fir Bolge and the Tuatha na Dannan and the Hunter gatherers.Recent DNA comparisons suggest that our nearest on blood lines is non other than the Basques. Maybe were Bilbao on the Boyne who knows.I met a few Scanlons and Newmans one time and with the sallow complection and black tight hair, they must have arrived long ago from Moorish North Africa,probably through the port at Galway.I asked at the time did they think they might be Atlantians,to which they replied that they were from Offaly born and bred, then again so was Obama’s people biffo’s from Moneygall on the Tipperary border.How about the people on New Foundland in Canada, I defy anyone to say they dont sound Irish when you hear them on the wireless. I suppose in a roundabout way the best we can say is we are Homo Sapiens just like the rest of the world,we started out black from Central Africa or there abouts and after a bit of twoing and frowing we finished up on this bit of ground,we lost the bit of pigment in the skin through lack of sunlight and became the whitest race on the planet..If ye ask me I think as a species we moved too far north for comfort,too cold and wet,we might be better off doing the Spaniards and Portuguese a favor and take all them auld houses off their hands at the right money, we could set this place by the eleven months for grazing, run a bit of fishing etc during the summer to earn the few bob, let the last man out when the clocks change in Autumn turn off all the auld lights and lock up. Jasus people when it comes to thinking outside the box you have to admit Im a diamond in the rough, a diamond I tells ya. PS can ye imagine the look on Denis o Brien and little Seanie’s faces when all 4 million of us turn up for a round of golf and a bit of R&R in their little hide away.Leitrim teeing off at 8.30 followed by Carlow, last out Mayo when the sappy ho.rs get out of bed.

  43. Oh no, that wouldn’t do at all, you’d end up with all sorts of people getting the right to vote who have no past history of voting FF at all? Why it would make elections completely unpredictable!

  44. jim – your version of history of irish families arriving to our shore is interesting – try mine in book ‘da wu yu code’ – even furrylugs likes it .

  45. Philip

    John, We are an absorbing nation. We have been invaded, encroached upon, churned etc. Ireland remains Irish. People eventually become as Irish as the Irish themselves (Ask Tim :)). I was watching GAA session of under 14s the other day. The Nigerian and the Romanian were in the top quartile of performers. We are the result of other’s Diaspora. And actually, it not unique to Ireland.

    I remember my Aunts and Uncles who emigrated to the US 40-50 years ago. I remember when they came back how American they became and their very American accents and they were proud of it. Most are ardent republicans (which I think is very funny) and very self made. My brothers and sisters when to the US for a few years. They acquired no accent and had no dreamy eyed view of the US. Their view was tempered by education and a sense that the US are full of humans just like us…Times change and we are more enlightened.. This is where I wonder if DMcW is making a fundamental blunder or many of us are over interpreting his article.

    Diaspora is at best a clever marketing idea. Nothing more. But as a marketing idea, we should work it for any value it has – which as I indicated above is a door opener.

  46. Ruairi

    Listening to the News at Lunchtime (awful source of inspiration, I’m ashamed of myself), I heard the DPP commenting, as part of a conference on cross-border smuggling and fraud etc, on the merits of the witness protection scheme.

    Then a lightbulb went on in my head :) While it may be a costly and wasteful exercise for the DPP to re-home someone abroad with a new identity (similar ROI to other government spend), it could be a fantastic way for anyone who’s thinking of emigrating to get a ‘grant’ to do so. Instead of a back to work scheme, more of a back to America scheme :) :) Now pay attention all you Redser bloggers and potential whistleblowers who would leave at the drop of a hat! All you have to do is pay real close attention to recent bank shennanigans and then approach the DPP and get yourself a one-way ticket for you and your loved ones to sunnier climes :) A class-action witness movement could aid in keeping Aer Lingus from being renamed Talamh Lingus.

    I do agree, on a more serious note, with Malcolm; that we should have a cabinet brief for the diaspora network.

  47. Malcolm McClure

    Fianna Fail looking at what was driving the Celtic Titaniger:

    • Malcolm McClure

      Sorry folks; just checking to see if this blog supports photos–it doesn’t.

      • wills

        @malcolm;
        much obliged on your appraising my posting.
        Am taking on board your ideas.
        My hobby horse tone maybe a sign on my turbo charged determination to expose how it is that the, PONZI CREDIT SYSTEM/DEBT SLAVE MONETARY SYSTEM PARASITE sucking the blood of the weak, innocent and vulnerable in order to maintain a feudal-techno-master-slave regime in control over all of our lives and our childrens life’s, must be destroyed by whatever means necessary.(non-violent of course)…

  48. Dilly

    Are the Fed just extending the ponzi scheme this week with their cash injection.

    • wills

      @dilly.

      The fed are maintaining a bond bubble to ensure enough time for all vested interests to liquidate paper assets before the oncoming dollar meltdown in approx 6 months.

  49. Original-Ed

    David, you dealt with this same topic, at this time, last year and I haven‘ changed my mind on it. Giving passports to all those, throughout the world that claim Irish ancestry would cripple this country – we’re just not powerful enough to turn it to our advantage. If we had got off our arses during the last two decades and created some decent indigenous companies, like the Finns did, then, it could be a real boon, but, as we are, there isn’t much point in allowing Irish Americans to come here and work for American Companies. A major problem that I see with this, is the overloading of our social systems, like health, education and welfare with people from countries with poorer systems. Let’s get the Horse first, then we’ll worry about the cart.

  50. wills – in view of what obama has now decided yesterday in relation to the $ how will the € perform relative to the us$ in the future ??

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