August 31, 2009

Diaspora can foster future success

Posted in International Economy · 93 comments ·
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About ten years ago, while I was working in Israel for a Swiss investment bank, one of my Israeli colleagues asked me about the Irish diaspora.

He noted that, wherever he went on business – whether New York, London or Sydney – it seemed to him that there were always Jews and Irish involved in the business deals. He continued that Israel would be nothing without international Jewish support. He wondered how we, the Irish in Ireland, used our own global tribe.

It was difficult to give him a concrete answer because it was clear that we did not, in any organised way, use the great, untapped resource that is our diaspora. On an ad hoc basis, there were deep, deep links but, as a state, we didn’t embrace the Irish abroad at all. The Israeli thought this was a missed opportunity, which we might regret.

The diaspora want to be part of our story and we, the homeland of the tribe, seem to turn our backs on them. With so many prominent Irish people in positions of power around the world, this is quite an oversight. The Israelis got me thinking about how the economy – and business – works.

Three years ago, at the World Economic Forum in Davos high up in the Swiss Alps, it struck me again just how many people of Irish decent – not just from the US, but also from Britain, Australia and even Argentina – were movers and shakers in the world of business. The annual Davos conference gives many of these people a chance to meet up, exchange ideas and make deals. Watching how this worked, I thought that an ‘Irish Davos’, using the power and network of the tribe for the benefit of the homeland, would be a concept worth exploring.

After discussions with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Global Irish Economic Conference at Farmleigh on September 18 will be this Irish Davos conference. It is aimed at harnessing some of the ideas and networks of the diaspora, to come up with plans for the long-term recovery and positioning of the country. I say long-term because it will not solve the banking crisis, the property market collapse or the fact that we are now facing a period of debt deflation, but if we really listen to those who have been successful abroad, we can only gain.

In fact, one of the reasons Ireland is in this mess is because we thought that we knew best. We thought that we were the smart ones – to use that nauseating phrase which was bandied about in the mania years, ‘‘the envy of Europe’’.

The narrow sectoral influences of vested interests got us into this predicament. The conference is trying to change that, to make us look at issues more globally and to do so with people who are familiar with us and emotionally bonded to us. They are our networks, our sales force, the people who maintain our brand – and they can be of great service to us, if we let them.

Because they want to be part of our story, we can fill a gap that they feel in terms of their heritage. The time has come for Ireland to be the recharging battery for Irishness around the globe. If the recession makes us think seriously about our role in the world, if it serves to help us re-imagine and reinvent the country, then it might not all be bad news.

And re-imagining is what we need.

Think about the potency of a global tribe in a world where communication is so easy. Today, we can keep in touch instantaneously and we can Skype each other for free. Immediately, your contacts and experience become my contacts and experience; and if you don’t know someone who can be of benefit to a certain project, your network does.

In a globally interconnected world, the country with the best network has a huge comparative advantage. Think about the power of the diaspora in a world where communication is immediate. The world is undergoing a communications revolution that will obliterate national power as we have come to know it. It will mean that a nation’s message becomes blurred, and the power of being sociable – sometimes in the past portrayed as a weakness, and the antithesis of the stoicism and aloofness of power – will dominate.

The world has 1.4 billion plugged-in internet users – and that number is growing by 250million a year. There are three billion mobile phones in the world, with another billion coming in the next three years. Ten hours of video are being uploaded onto YouTube every minute of every day.

This connectivity revolution, where the best salespeople for ideas will be individuals playing a giant game of ‘pass it on’, is ideally suited to dramatic initiatives, and the diaspora is a natural sales force for the country.

The winners will be those countries which have access to the best brains, are open to ideas and allow individuals to travel freely. We should be promoting much freer travel between Ireland and America for people of Irish heritage; we could see our potential workforce increase from four million to 70 million.

These people would not have to move here – although some undoubtedly would – but by telling them that Ireland is open to them and vice-versa, you create the network necessary to compete.

If we just consider the Irish in America, the commercial power of the diaspora is irrefutable. Of the 34 million Irish-Americans registered in the 2005 census, a third have bachelors’ degrees or higher. That’s over 11 million graduates.

More than 30 million Irish-Americans have a high school diploma. As 91 per cent of the total Irish-American population has completed secondary education, our American cousins are considerably better educated than us. Even today, only seven out of ten Irish children finish the Leaving Cert. Some 40 per cent of Irish-Americans are either professionals or work in management, and 72 per cent are homeowners.

The average income of an IrishAmerican household is $53,000.This puts them at the top of the ethnic league after the Jews, in terms of education, income and social class. Close to 900,000 English speaking Irish-Americans speak a second language. Their average age is 37,but there are over ten million Irish-Americans under 18.

This is an extraordinary reservoir of talent. The Irish-Americans define themselves as Irish; and while they are American, they also have a deep affection for, and affiliation to, this country. The 3.8 million Irish-Canadians, the 1.9 million Irish-Australians and the half-million Irish-Argentines have similar profiles in terms of education and income.

It’s time to re-imagine the country so that we become the guardian of the exiled Irish. This is why the Global Irish Economic Conference in Farmleigh on September 18 is a great start to what could be the next phase of our country’s development, where by Ireland reaches out to the diaspora. In the midst of the present despair, we should try to imagine a greater Ireland that transcends geography.


  1. eamondo

    Sounds like a great idea, but perhaps consider why all these Irish Americans/Australians/Canadians etc are where they are now. Is it not the case that they and there forefathers left Ireland to find a better life/living elsewhere, and the generations they have created are quite aware of the Ireland they left many years ago?

    What chance of them getting involved with the current Irish economy, its a bit like inviting them to a pub for a drink, but there is no beer.

    Anyway, Ireland currently has a wealth of overseas talent within, but I fear the influx of East Europeans are much less acceptable to the Irish, than White, English first tongue, Irish decendants whether to invest, bring business and jobs or simply to serve coffee.

    It is a change of mindset which will assist Ireland’s economic recovery, and a bit less resistance to a multi cultural society; as an example look at London’s demographic.

    And as a long term investment, maybe teach the next generation French, German or Spanish as a priority over Irish, it never was a language which travelled well in business.

    Ireland needs to open its mind to the “overseas” business opportunity of any origin, and perhaps host such talent rather than just export it.

    • Josey

      I’ve heard of self hating jews…but now self hating Paddys? Wow!!!

      • cozzy121

        Josey, It’s not “self hating” to acknowledge the truth. This country is a failed entity & has failed it’s people AGAIN. Since independence we’ve been struck down time and time again with gombeen politics and corruption by our politicians who always act in the interests of themselves and their party, never in the interest of the country & it’s people. Once again we’re going to be exporting our young as we have given them a future of unemployment or highly taxed employment for the next 20 years. While I appreciate David’s enthusiasm about getting the Diaspora to help the mother country, the best thing is to get them to help our emigrating children find jobs abroad.

        • eamondo

          Cozzy,

          One thing Ireland has in common with every other country is two faced politicians, it a requirement of the job, just like having a vivid imagination is for estate agents, or knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing for accountants.

          Ireland’s current best asset is its youth, and it’s well know throughout Europe that by the time they are 18, amongst the best educated there is. Help from the Diaspora is not much use if the country is empty of it’s talent, but you will be proved correct, the next ten years will see a huge exodus of the newly qualified, what percentage return is governed by Ireland’s economic recovery. Hence my comment, Ireland needs to be more mindful of the value of the “other” europeans who pitch up to fill the void, their accents are different, but their work ethic is good

      • eamondo

        Josey,

        Where in my comment did I indicate that I am Irish, never mind “self-hating”. Read it again, then maybe take in cozzy 121′s more realistic interpretation of “acknowledging the truth”

        • Josey

          Eamondo,
          I presumed you were irish as this being an irish website ( dot ie ) ( I assume that 90% of contributoers here would be irish also ) and the use of the irish name “eamon” in your nickname, I think that’s fair enough.
          Cozzy, Yes Ireland is a failed entity, in it’s present state, but it is an entity none the less and through hard work and HONESTY we can improve it. Are you suggesting we should hand over control to a foreign power because they might run it slightly better? Power corrupts period!!! We see it more clearly here in a small country as the steps of separation are less. America has it’s problems too amongst most countries, some might say it’s a failing entity, Obama feeding Goldman Sachs all the bonus money they can pay themselves, Henry Paulson former CEO of Goldman now Treasury Secretary, now that’s a cosy little deal.
          As for our native language, the point is that it is/was used to communicate amongst ourselves; no language was designed for “international business” unless you’re talking about empires which spread their languages through subjugation. We shouldn’t be purely business orientated anyway. Our problem is we lost our culture during the boom, we sold out, starting from the fishing quotas, our oil and gas fields etc. right down to the mumbo jumbo of the “new irish”. They don’t consider themselves irish, just as those who emigrate from here to France, Germany or Australia don’t consider themselves anything else but irish. We need to cop on, people are tribal and form cliques. Of course we would prefer irish descendants, they’re like us, we have a common culture/ history, we’re related to half of them it’s human nature no less. There is a certain segment of the population however that is self hating or hating at least of their culture ( and western culture ) who fall over backwards to embrace anything that is different or minority…shaira law!!!
          You’re right though we should learn foreign languages from an earlier age.
          Another trait we lost was honesty, those at the top are just a reflection on the rest of us, amoral, greedy and decedent. We all need a good scrubbing down, maybe even purification and that’s what we are going through now but we will come out of it fitter, healthier and happier but it all depends on Us, our attitudes and the size of the fight in us.

          • cozzy121

            “Are you suggesting we should hand over control to a foreign power because they might run it slightly better? ” Josey, I honestly don’t know, but the fact that my disillusionment with how we’ve governed ourselves over the past 80 years means I would consider handing over control to the EU or the IMF or General Gadafi himself speaks volumes. I do not trust those that govern us now. I do not believe anything that comes of their mouths They have piss*d away one of the greatest opportunities to make this county something to be proud of and not one of them will ever be held accountable for their actions, whilst another generation of Irish will have to leave here to make some sort of life for themselves.

          • Josey

            Cozzy,
            yes it is sickening…but if we give up they’ll get away with it for sure. For God’s sake surely we can deal with them ourselves, it’s just going to take time and effort.

            It’s about time we did REVOLT…!!!

          • eamondo

            Josey,

            Well spotted with the name, however must declare English born of Irish parents who settled here during WW2. The likes of me were once described by a Daily Express journalist, (I use the term loosely) George Gale, as the “bastard” race, not sure which side of the fence to jump over. A theory re-ignited by Norman Tebbitt who declared that Asians born in England should support England and not India/Pakistan/Sri Lanka etc. Men of fair mind and tolerance they are/were not.

            By contrast, some of David’s writings have struck a cord in so far as his observation of Ireland’s new middle class, I recall the mention of face lifts and designer handbags being growth markets beyond all expectations. I see this in family and friends each time I visit Ireland, along with, rather sadly, a growing resentment for “outsiders”, (European Guest Workers, labeled Foreign Nationals), and this from educated people who would not look out of place (attitude wise) alongside the right wing BNP party who unfortunately exist here.

            Re the native language, agreed, no language was designed for international business, however work with what there is today, English, Spanish, German, French. I notice a better level of the former spoken in Ireland today than in England, however the other three need to be given more priority in the schools.

            For those who are seemingly “self hating” as you put it, and would fall over backwards to embrace anything which is different or minority, perhaps they, whoever they are, are what makes up a society. Possibly less robotic in lifestyle and willing to change and make changes as required. Perhaps pop into your local Gay friendly bar and ask where the nearest Lebanese eating house is. Possibly next to the Burger Joint next to the brand new hotel operating on 25% capacity. Where are those American Golf tourists when you need them?

            Shaira Law, as you spell it, would be a disaster, Sharia law however would also, unlike the Irish legislation placing levies on the public sector workers, thats just plain old fashioned theft.

            Time for Ireland to wake up and smell the coffee, this/next years graduates will be after the job of the Polish girl who just served it. And she too was sucked in by the “Celtic Tiger”. Americano anyone??

          • Josey

            Well said eamondo….tips cap :-)

          • Josey

            P.S. My Da is London Irish and he could also recite a list of names he was called upon his return in the 70s.

  2. Welcome back David. Congrats on having finished the book. Your productivity is inspiring.

    I’m not sure which has had the greater influence: your advocacy of the diaspora or my own experience of leaving Ireland in 1975 and eventually returning in 2005.

    Even though I was pleased to leave Ireland, and enjoyed the comparative anonymity of London, there was always discomfort around the feeling of being away from “home”. I could never find a fully satisfactory relationship with Ireland from abroad. I had no wish to go back and live there, but I still felt there was unfinished business. It helped that it was hard to keep up with what was going on in Ireland, even though I was only across the water.

    I must have passed on some of this discomfort to my sons. They grew up with mixed feelings for Ireland. They visited, met their extended family and acquired some of the Irish shine which they could play whenever it suited them. They could get an Irish passport for when it was more useful than a British one.

    I have no memory of anyone in Ireland making me aware that my country had need of me. All through the 1980s, when there was so much going on in Ireland, there was plenty going on in UK. My Irishness probably helped me in multicultural London; I certainly did my best to ‘leverage’ it. As the Thatcher era ended, and Ireland began to become strangely prosperous, I found myself becoming more interested and perplexed at the ‘Celtic Tiger’.

    A mixture of accident & familial ties persuaded me to return to Ireland after 30 years in UK. I think I’ve done what many others have done: returned hoping that Ireland will suit me better now.

    You highlight how the diaspora has been neglected. My experience confirms that theory. Universities realised they’d neglected their alumni, and began to do something about it. Some smart businesses realise that their ex-employees are a valuable network.

    It’s up to you leaders meeting in September to tap into us, members of this tribe. You can achieve nothing without a vigorous tribe to lead.

    Keep it up. There are legs in this concept of “Ireland – a country with no border”

  3. Malcolm McClure

    David: Good to see your column back and I look forward to your RTE series. When does it begin?
    I remember that you have drawn attention to the economic potential of the Irish diaspora in other articles in the past year. Indeed they often have responded through close family ties in hard times down through the generations. I well remember the flavour of packets of Libby’s chicken noodle soup from a large carton my aunt sent from America during second world war rationing.
    There is a big difference between family ties of trust and expectation and ties merely of common nationality. Particularly when most exiles emigrated because of the government mismanagement that led to previous recessions. Few can easily forget the pain of forced departure and many remember their determination to thrive, in spite of inward-looking vested interests they had left behind.
    As a nation there is still no sign that basic attitudes have changed, and until we can show evidence that vested interests no longer rule the roost, national appeals to the diaspora will be whistling in the wind.

  4. Hello David,

    Well done for writing this up, it struck a few chords! My partner Bernadette and I are London Irish who moved over / back to Ireland about 5 years ago.

    Ireland at the time was at the tail end of being ‘the envy of Europe’ and from our perspective seemed fairly oblivious to its diaspora. Having grown up in strong Irish communities in the UK, communities that really knew how to preserve their culture and sense of values, it seemed strange that those at home were so unaware.

    Anyway one thing lead to another and earlier this year we launched a new website – http://www.diaspora.ie. A home built venture still in its infancy, but just starting to get some attention.

    This is’nt meant to be a plug but i thought it’d be interesting to draw your attention to a particular post on the site. We were contacted by a young 3rd generation american who was perturbed by how difficult Ireland has made it for him to ‘get closer’ to the country of his origins.

    He has ideas on how Irish America can benefit Ireland, and you can read what he wrote at http://diaspora.ie/starship/2009/05/irish-descent/

    The ideas might be debatable, but there’s no denying the sentiment.

    All the best,

    Mick.

  5. lff12

    Some very good points here. I think there is a huge issue in Ireland with regards to education because of the nature of the “diaspora.” You make it sound very positive, but a friend of mine whose family were the only public family of athiests in Listowel in the 1970s discovered unwittingly, the nasty side of the diaspora – its hatred, cutlural insularity and naked bigotry and exclusion, when the son of the family was not only excluded from playing GAA as a child, but also when he discovered a large Kerry community in New York in the early 90s, where they happily continued their campaign of vitriolic hatred against perceived “outsiders” by again refusing to allow him to play GAA in NY.

  6. adamabyss

    Subscribe.

  7. Robert

    David,

    Welcome back. With respect though I’d prefer if you weren’t going on about your “diaspora” again.

    The country is about to be screwed big time with NAMA & it is announced today that we have some politicians today claiming over 200,000 in expenses (or 534,000 if you’re John O’Donoghue) on top of their 106,000 basic dail salary.

    Ireland is basically a corrupt banana (or banama) republic with FF at its heart creating inequality whilst running the country exclusively for the very rich.

    We need discussions on how it could be possible to create a new society out of this mess and oppose the maintaining of the status quo – which is really what NAMA is all about.

    Are the Government running with your Global Irish Economic Conference in Farmleigh in order to keep you onside whilst the NAMA debate is going on ? I wonder!

    We’re bailing out the builders and bankers – And our “diaspora” won’t be stupid enough to get involved with that!.

  8. Deco

    David – welcome back. Seen your article in the Sunday Business Post yesterday. Was expecting a more subdued first article back in the context of the subdued atmosphere now in this country.

    NAMA is in the news. Not too confident about Dr. Garrett Fitzgerald’s opinions. As somebody mentioned in The Irish Times commentary this morning, Garrett did not see this as a bubble either. In fact you and a handful in the public domain told this was a bubble. The rest claimed to say it was a bubble after it burst.

    But my concern about the Diaspora is this. Does anybody have any idea why they left Ireland ? Because Ireland was dominated by the same crookedness, coverup mentality, dishonesty, and gombeen indulgences as brought us the Permo loan to Anglo, the Anglo loans to Seanie Fitz, the co-operation of INBS, and the ‘oversight’ by the auditors. The Diaspora were driven out by their own people. By the rogues that Yeats lambasted in his poem 1913 when James Larkin was organizing for workers rights. After 1922 we discovered that it was not the British that were driving the Irish out of Ireland but the crooked hoors who were controlling Ireland. And you can take your pick with any controversial seismic event in contemporary Irish history. Saipan. RipOff Republic. The Joe Duffy Bank run. Last June’s election. The IBEC agenda. An element in Irish society is living the “something for nothing” ethos and screwing up.

    Why should the diaspora contribute money towards bailing out crooks in Ireland who were responsible for driving them out in the first place ? Israel did not drive the Jewish people out. Madoff robbed other Jews in a manner that was very similar to the business schemes of a few well known Irish ‘businessmen’ who have been found out in the last two years. The Jewish community in New York got Madoff punished.

    But here in Ireland the same types are playing golf, and backslapping each other.

    David, as a necessary pre-requisite, we need to overhaul, reform, make transparent Irish business culture and Irish life. We need to do fix all the things that Shane Ross has told us need fixing. Even today we see articles about Ministerial expenses that are of such a variety that the MD of the BoI or AIB would not dare carry out. And that says something given the amount of time it took to remove Irish company directors for incompetence.

    And the starting point is the Company Law book. Interestingly enough the basis of Company Law in Ireland was last reformed by CJH in the early 1960s. It seems that ever since business has been a by word for immoral dealing in Ireland. Should we be surprised. We need Irish Company Law 2.0 – a complete overhaul to take us beyond the CJH era. Incompetence, nepotism, price gouging, oligopolistic trading arrangements, tax dodging, labour law infringements, directors taking directorships in other companies, directors appointing relatives to position in related companies, refusal to declare interests, etc.. should all result in Shareholder votes to maintain/keep directors. Accountability, the number 1 objective.

    Otherwise, Ireland will go into the abyss. But the gombeens will be in resorts in Portugal playing golf in Blazers living the good life. And we will be left with the mess for another three decades.

    Bad business practices created this mess. They must be punished. Unfortuantely, Lenihan in his naive little make-believe world thinks that no Irish business man can do any wrong, and that the whole system should be bailed out. I disagree. We need to let Anglo go. And any other Irish bank that is doing the wrong thing. These are private commercial businesses. It is part of the business. Banks are supposed to know all about bankrutcy. Instead the hierarchies of incompetence prevail, and weigh in on the PAYE taxpayer for one bailout after another.

    • Hello Deco et al.
      A concise post as always.
      It strikes me that the main banks have to remain as private entities in some guise else, as nationalised businesses, the dealings which led to this NAMA mess would become public knowledge.
      In that respect, cynicism still rules the roost.
      As for a global diaspora rallying round to save dear ol’ Oirland, given that we were essentially evicted in the first place, now this diasporic believes that’s a touch naive.

    • cozzy121

      Brilliant post! Sums up what this failed nation is all about.

  9. Roche

    Banama Republic. The auld sod is reeping what it sowed. In recent years it offered graduates a cost of living that was nothing more than extortion. Never mind treating the diaspora poorly what about those who would have liked to live, work, and settle for a fair price. As I unfashoinably emmigrated a few years ago the USA I saw the signs all around me. Unsustainable shopping sprees by the decklanders and “Hills” wannabees. Empty apartment blocks invading historic parts of town for a quick buck.
    The contractors would trade in their oversized SUV’s if anyone would take them while their new home owners settle in to their empty estate. I remember a sitcom on RTE in the mid 90′s called upwardly mobile – it seemed to capture the pretentious mob mentality of Celtic Tiger before she even roared. We are a predictable nation and I hope we have learned from our mistakes. The politicians continue to posture for their careers and avoid the needs of who they work for. To see the Sligo cancer services being threatened is a disgrace. Thousands die on forgotten roads each year. Colleges lack important funding for research and innovation.
    A simple key to for recovery is tourism. This will require a change of attitudes and investment. Rebranding as an outdoors paradise, hiking, cycling, surfing, scenic driving etc.. will diversify from the traditional irish breakfast and capture a thriving new market.

  10. Tim

    Welcome back, David! As a returned Irish-American myself, with many family members and friends still living in the US, I agree with the core concept of your article. In order to join in the spirit of the concept, therefore, I will now use both twitter and facebook to help spread the word about Mick Regan’s site http://www.diaspora.ie to all my friends and relatives in America and elsewhere. I see great potential in your idea and it will help if enough of us “get on-board” and just do it.

    (Heartiest greetings to all “returning contributors” here!)

  11. Philip

    Welcome back!!

    I am going out on a limb here by suggesting that unlike Israel, Ireland has an equivocal approach to religion and maybe many aspects of morality. We are pragmatists, opportunists and wanderers. I believe this explains our government, our way of living here and our individual strength abroad. Maybe we should be focusing on our strengths rather than what may well be a genetic inability to form diaspora. We are guerilla fighters by nature. No central control. Totally automonous and all the advantages and disadvantages that entails.

    I think the diaspora idea may be a non-starter and should remain so. Let’s face it, it is just another name for creating yet another closed shop – tribal, professional, racial etc. to make the business deals move more smoothly with less due diligence. This is just plain dishonest. I for one ( and a good many paddies I know) are well able to speak with people of all walks of life irrespective of who they are and do good honest and fair business. I want to see more of this. I am not interested in the origins of who I meet other than their track record as a person to do good honest business.

  12. Alan42

    Welcome back David . I left Ireland in 2005 for Australia . I have helped Ireland by pointing stunned young Irish people here on the one year woking holiday visa who think that they have emigrated find some work with some Irish employers that I know . Irish people think that they can do whatever they like . They are amazed that the Australians actually follow the rules and cannot understand why nobody will turn a blind eye to their visa restrictions .
    I have taken a close interest in Irelands problems of late while watching the Australian government deal with the GFC . There is no comparison . Aussie politicians actually have a public service mentality . Both the PM and opposition leader are both millionaires from the private sector ( in the PM’s case its is wife who made the money in business ) The government here are obsessed with having no debt . There was absolute murder over the govenments plan to borrow for a stimulas package . Roads , schools , infastructure and a cash payment to everybody to spend to keep the economy ticking along . I recieved a cheque in the mail from the government for $ 900 . Everybody who earns under $ 80,000 a year did . People with children recieved more . I know one guy with 3 kids who recieved $ 4,000 . If I have a problem with my footpath or trafic lights outside of my kids school I ring the council and not my MP .
    I actually have complete faith that my government are doing their very best for me and my family ( being Irish , that is a weird feeling ) even though I disliked the last government policies on everything but would actually trust their treasurey minister ( minister for finance ) with my life savings .
    when the GFc hit international finance companies pulled out of car finance here . The government set up their own as we make manufacture cares here so it was important to keep that industry going .
    The opposition got wind that an e mail had been sent from the PM’s office to the public servant who was heading up the governments finance company that a car dealer who was a friend of the PM’s and had also donated a car to the PM for use in canvassing for election . There was uproar . the parliment was recalled at night . It was all over the papers . The federal police were called in to investigate . Houses were raided and computers seized ( it turned out to be false ) That would not even raise an eyebrow in Ireland .
    Next month I will open my own business . I have already bid on a governemt tender . I will meet no MP’s or lobby any public servant in anyway . Do you really think that I , who have worked hard and will work harder at my own business direct work towards a country where it is normal for the PM to win money on the horses , recieve dig outs from friends and cash his cheque down in his local pub ? A country where the the most important decision in the history of the Irish State is debated through the Media ?

  13. Alan42

    The e mail in question was seeking favours .( I left that bit out .)

  14. Alan42

    Jews see Israel as the homeland . For hundreds of years they have kept everything inhouse . They will always direct business to one another and everything flows back to the homeland . The two toughest people to do business with are the Jews and the Chinese . I really do see your point about the diaspora and an Irish homeland but not until their is complete political reform . Not until corruption comes down to even normal levels .

  15. adamabyss

    I sent this email to Mick and Bernadette –

    “Hello Mick and Bernadette,

    I look forward to reading more on the site, right now I’m a passenger on a road trip from Minneapolis to Council Bluffs, Iowa, so its a bit tricky to focus on the small text on my phone. I have lived in the Caribbean for 10 years splitting time between the islands of Dominica and more recently Antigua – my wife is Antiguan / American and my little girl (21 months) is Antiguan / American / Irish with all 3 passports! I read David’s article with interest, but to be honest, having been a part of the ‘diaspora’ for 20 years, with 2.5 years in the Isle of Man, 2.5 in London and 5 in Hungary before my sojourn in the wonderful Caribbean, I am not really inclined to make any economic contribution whatsoever to the shamefully corrupt, materialistic and selfish Irish state of today. Oh how I remember the poor, but happy childhood of mine in Lucan, Co. Dublin before all this Celtic Tiger (false God – not that I’m religious) crap! I will enjoy reading the stories and opinions on the site though and on David’s. The best thing those fellows at Farmleigh could do on the 18th is to plan a coup d’etat and drown all those politicians and bankers in the murky waters of the Liffey, which would be too kind an end to them. Anyway, I may stay in the States for an extended period (following the work) but its back to the Caribbean for me in my later days to relax and die – not to Ireland I’m afraid. Feel free to use any of my comments wherever you want. I will join up to your Facebook group when I hit dry land. Here’s hoping for a better future for Ireland where we all help each other and repudiate the rule of the gangsters in suits (and the real gangster-criminals too). I remain open to persuasion to changing my opinions if I see an improvement in the behaviour of the Irish people and country as a whole. I definitely agree with your writer Ryan as regards him being allowed the opportunity and right of becoming an Irish citizen. Good luck to him and his like.

    Keep up the good work!

    Adam Byrne.”

    • Tim

      adamabyss, good points, powerfully made. I am not going to argue against them, because I cannot.

      But I am all for trying! I have to be; I am a teacher – I must help kids who have very little: very little chance, very little hope, very little love in their lives.

      We must try!

      Mick and Bernadette must try.

      Trying is not pointless, Adam.

      • adamabyss

        Still trying Tim, don’t worry. Just waiting for regime change of the corrupt minority and mindset/cultural change of the ignorant majority. Hope it all takes a turn for the better, I honestly do. Love the example of your Wicklow friends – that’s how a business should be run and it’s how I have run my businesses – greed is a great evil.

  16. Those who feel the need to emphasise the extent of corruption in Irish culture have a strong point to make. It’s hardly surprising that many wish to lambaste the politico-business community. Essentially they say “I won’t be helping Ireland until there has been thorough reform.” This blog is a good forum on which to deliver powerful critique.

    Those who interpret David McW as advocating that the diaspora contribute funds to rescue Ireland are, I think, missing the point. Those who see David as advocating a new form of cronyism are also misleading themselves, I’d say. Admittedly, David did refer to “cutting deals” so there is reason for the misunderstanding.

    “using the power and network of the tribe for the benefit of the homeland” is David putting it abstractly. I suggest we need to be clearer in expressing objectives for a re-imagined relationship with the Irish diaspora.

    Ireland’s greatest need is not financial investment. It is a revolution in business and political ethics. I don’t think many political and business leaders have sorted out their ethics. Certainly they don’t behave as if they make judgments from any strong moral imperative, other than pure personal gain and political advancement.

    Perhaps we can blame the overwhelming dominance of the Roman Catholic church with its obsession on sexual morality for the popular collusion with neglect of any other form of ethics? Some sociologists or historians will have a field day on this some day.

    Is there one outstandingly fine example of a native Irish business leader with a reputation for honest dealing? One exemplar for our children to look up to? I’m not sure there is.

    Native Irish politicians have hardly ever lived outside Ireland long enough to pick up an alternative set of guiding principles with which to offer an alternative to “cute whooreism”.

    The diaspora is a mixed bag. I’m sure it includes many tricksters who have been successful by dubious means. But I’m sure it’s not homogeneously of that bent. There is a good chance the diaspora contains diverse intelligences & moralities. Many people open to some form of dialogue with an Ireland that acknowledges its need for new input.

    David’s point that Ireland can offer its diaspora something in return is well made. Unless there is a trade off, the bond won’t strengthen and prosper. It will take an act of imagination for native Irish people to see what Ireland can offer in return for the diversity of the bigger tribe.

    I have taken much too much space, rushed to contribute before getting my thoughts into a short form. Thank you very much for reading this far.

    • Tim

      PaulOMahonyCork, I applaud your contribution. Particularly this:

      “Is there one outstandingly fine example of a native Irish business leader with a reputation for honest dealing? One exemplar for our children to look up to? I’m not sure there is.”

      Not all business is corrupt and , simply “profit-seeking”, Paul.

      You know many, I am sure; but it is still a very good question.

      I have explained here, before, that a friend of mine in Wicklow runs a business with his brother that has been running for (now) 28 years or so. The two brothers make a living for their families from this business, as do the families of their two employees.

      Four families get to live: pay for their houses, pay their bills and live in a reasonable manner, all.

      I ask this question: “What is wrong, in the Business world, with running a business like that? One that operates, successfully, fulfilling its clients’ needs and supporting four families”?

      That is all that the business has to do: keep the people who work for it making “a living”.

      Why sacrifice ALL for “profit” alone? What is wrong with working/running business, just, “to live”?

      I am delighted to report that this business, run by these two brothers in wicklow, is alive and well and not closed due to the gambling of the “Banksters”.

      Four families continue to survive as a resu;t of such business practices and will (hopefully) survive this recession, unscathed.

      http://maps.google.com/maps?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&channel=s&hl=en&source=hp&cr=countryIE&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=wicklow+glass&fb=1&split=1&gl=ie&view=text&latlng=3683280954568580255

    • Deco

      Paul – the problem with blaming the Catholic Church is that it ends up as a cul de sac of blaming the Catholic Church. It becomes a hammer beating a nail exercise. It also serves the large commercial interests to be fighting Maynooth when the real problem is D2/D4 and the networks. I agree that there is a lack of ‘market and institutional ethics’ in Ireland. I think the Child Abuse scandals have thought us that there is a distinct problem with the form of authoritarianism that exists in the Irish Catholic Church which is absent from other Catholic cultures. Here is a piece of information that I found fascinating.

      At the time of the French Revolution, there were a large section of the Catholic Church in France who wanted to get out at all costs. These were the aristocratic elements who detested what had happened. Now that does not qualify what happened, because it was a time of savage butchery in France. The British offered them safe passage to Ireland. They settled in the East cost of Ireland, and became influential in the Church structures in the early decades of the 1800s. For the most part they were better educated that the Irish native clergy, and had notable influence in many matters. However, they also strongly influenced the development of the Catholic Church, making it more pro-British, pro-aristocratic, and more co-operative to the English establishment. There was also a strong conservative bias towards all issues, and a readiness to This was in contrast to the previous development of the Catholic Church which before then had reflected the anti-establishment, and anti-authoritarian mores of the population at large. Interestingly enough this new development was strongest in Leinster. This was the region which sided for the Treaty in 1921, where most of the child abuse cases occurred in the mid-20th century, and where the Catholic Church is the weakest today. [Though it can be argued that Irish mores towards money are consistent across all regions]. Perhaps it is this intellectual-institutional trend that is at the root of the problem, within the Irish Catholic Church and with Irish society as a whole. It would require a Prof. Joe Lee to answer the question. There is a human dimension to this. A bunch of clerics left France, many of them aghast at what they had seen happen to their patrons, and their family members, and determined that this would not happen in Ireland. In essence the extremes of revolutionary France created a counter-movement, which was unnecessary in Ireland. And this has created a counter movement on the left in response. And now we see a counter response to this left wing anti-clerical bias in the brief, but flighting, Libertas phenomenon. This is basically one extreme begetting another, begetting another, etc… And it destroys any sense of proper debate in key policy areas. Both sides are obsessed with nonsense. We even have Sinn Fein making an effort to be in both extremes. This ethos from the aristocratic element was very much into the centralization of society, and national institutions. This was the Richelieu doctrine that was used to create France into a hierarchical and centralized state and society. This structure was responsible from France being able to gather mass armies in the period from 1650-1820 than either Britain (which depended on it’s sailors) or the German states (which were disunited, and more interested in commerce and science than nationalism at this time). In essence the Richelieu doctrine predicated French nationalism and statism. [And ultimately the versions that emerged in the societies that it warred against and invaded 100 years later. First Italy, then Germany and then Spain. And, incidentally, from the mid 1800s Ireland became an increasingly institutionalized, and centralized society. In fact the Richelieu doctrine made sure that France ended up trailing both Britain and Germany economically. (Both these societies were more fragmented and less centralized).

      Whatever happened to moderate thinking and non-ideological analysis ? Well the only movement that seemed capable of dealing with the middle ground was the mix of social egalitarianism, keynesian style intereventionism, and pragmatism that is Fianna Fail. FF did not have a blueshirt phase, and did not have a silly 1960s silly season either. And this was fine until the aristocratic mores took over Fianna Fail, in the personage of CJH. Essentially CJH destroyed Fianna Fail. This was manifested in Haughey's elusive chase for the overall majority-which the Irish people in their wisdom repeatedly denied him-despite the incompetence from the alternatives. Since the 1980s, there has been a gap in the political establishment in the middle ground. Alan Dukes stumbled into it, with the Tallaght Strategy, and got kicked out of it, by a FG almost-aristocrat, Bruton. Fine Gael have not made any intelligent effort to secure this - until now.

      Fianna Fail have lost the common ground because Fianna Fail have betrayed the common man, and the common law in favour of the commercial establishment, and the bureacratic imperialism that eminates from Brussels. Brussels makes the rules for Ireland now, like the old Rome made the rules fifty years ago. And it seems that elements in Irish society think that this is the antidote to the Rome Rules episode of Irish history - when actually it is really a new form of continuation of the centralisation. [And the biggest joke of all is that the Lisbon Treaty was the reincarnation of the EU Constitution-which was created by.....a French aristocrat....who wants to implement a Richelieu Doctrine of increased centralization on all of Europe....eh....yeah....here we go again].

      We still need to reform our societal infrastructure. And before that occurs, we need a proper intellectual climate that debates issues based on intelligent analysis rather than ideology. in essence, like Barrack Obama proposed in the US, we need to go beyond the politics of the recent past, and start putting intelligence in and take ideology out.

      PaulOMahony – actually, we need to get away from the Richelieu Doctrine of statism, centralization, authoritarianism, suppression of dissent, and a readyiness to throw out principles in favour of expansionism. And we will do this with less hierarchical authority, more transparency, more accountability of the state structure, and being more principled.

      • wills

        excellent read,,.. distilled ,….. ‘scientific dictatorship playing god’ giving the elites a rush from their dark powers at play.

      • Philip

        A most excellent piece and one I find resonates with my view that Ireland has for the last 200 years been round peg stuck in a square hole of UK orthodoxy. Is it any wonder we had the famine 50 years later – lot of good central control did us then.

        I think this diaspora idea is a nice idea on the wrong track. It is the diaspora of likeminded bureacratic elites we need to dissolve before we can start to genuinely draw on our own strengths i.e now always looking over our shoulder like a 5 year old to mama/nama to see if it is OK to touch.

      • Malcolm McClure

        Well said Deco. I agree fully that the French grip on the Catholic church influenced the Irish sense of their cultural inheritance. I wrote here months ago about the Chartres influence on church architecture, but it extends pervasively though frenchified names for institutions and children; Loreto Convent; St Vincent de Paul; Sainte Anne de Beaupre; Sacre Coeur; Bernadette; Theresa; Josephine; Dominic; Frederic, Ignatius; Benedict; Cornelius; Aloysius; Xavier; etc. etc.
        What’s that all about?
        I also agree that as a nation we need to become more considerate, law-abiding and reliable before seeking assistance from the diaspora.

        • Deco

          Malcolm – I am not concerned about the names, or the architecture. France and French culture has it’s good points. And in fairness they have good architecture.

          My concern is with a model of authority that was created in France to control the French and ended up in Ireland as a means of control over the Irish. A culture of authority that led to asset booms, wars, bad rulers, waste, lost opportunities, a financial collapse, and a bloody revolution. In the second half of the 1800s, the dominant personality of Irish Catholicism was Cardinal Cullen. He performed what was then called the “Gallicization” of the Irish Catholic Church. In effect he remodelled it on French ideas from the Loius XIV era – though he probably did not know it at the time. Cullen’s motives were influenced by the famine episode, and the level of chaos. In effect he reacted to it with an authority binge.

          The problem is that it presumed the relevance and predominance of a particular model of the French school of authority. This was very rigid, very centralized, and very hierarchical. It was very skilled politically, in realpolitik and in garnering influence. No sense of accountability. People being lectured and lied to “for their own good”. (Ahern was pretty good at it). And it was also very much into controlling the population. In fact it was what Richelieu had created and became the model of French society between 1630 and 1790. Nationalistic feelings themselves were subjugated as a means of propelling a political agenda, and maintaining the system. Internal critique was suppressed, dismissed or else shouted out with distractory nonsense. And we have seen this in Ireland.

          This centralization had toxic effects on the society as a whole. Perhaps we would be better with a model of authority based on Scandinavia, The Low Countries or some other construct. We definitely need a model of authority that is far more accountable and far more transparent. The model of authority that gave us Patrick Neary needs to be thrown out.

          • Malcolm McClure

            Deco: I think you are reaching the inner depths of the actual Irish psyche with your comments here. I have read a little about Cullen and you could be right that his reforms were responsible for a lot of subsequent intractible problems in Ireland, particularly the civil war and the various Ulster troubles, not to mention the authoritarian strings that keep the political puppets dancing. Of course there cannot be a republican revolution to reform matters as Ireland is already a republic. Danger is that if we discard democratic monarchies, military dictatorships, and republics as unacceptable political systems we are left with fascism as the only viable alternative. The trains might run on time and perhaps wouldn’t fall in the river, but at what cost to individual freedom?

          • Deco

            Malcolm – I actually think that the Richelieu state concept, and the wars it created that were fought most on German and Italian soil, eventually led to Fascism in these countries. It was a case of fighting fire with fire. (Ever tried water?) Fascism is about the primacy of the state, it’s alignment with capital and labour interests, flag waving, no tolerance of disssent, patriotism/obedience as the supreme virtues, strong armed state officialdom, a common mode of behaviour with respect to acting out national identity, military arrogance, pride, and the state being able to apply force without criticism.

            After the war Germany opted for a federal system of government, with no strong centre. And Italians went back to a more decentralized form of government, which many people still chose to ignore at will. And both prospered as a result.

            My point is that the centralized nature of Ireland is the problem. In Ireland we have too much authority and not enough accountability. Meritocracy is not built in. In fact, it is getting increasingly built out.

            I don’t think Cullen caused the Civil War. But perhaps he did help create the middle class professional culture of intransigence and disdain for the lower classes. It was a soft disdain. Lesson number 1 from the French Revolution was never to enrage the toiling classes. Just control the system, and patronized them with platitudes. But never let them get into control. And it dovetailed nicely with the British system for the control of Ireland. At least until Michael Davitt came along, and drove it into the background. The Civil War was the key watershed. Those who could now take over and implement light changes had to deal with those who were fighting the entire system. In essence the mentality emerged that a certain community of people were now going to take over from the British and a collection of provincial farmers with rifles were not going to stop them. The peasantry and urban mobs of Limerick and Cork were completely oblivious to what was happening, and had no interest in the commentary being provided by the Freeman’s Journal or the Irish Times. The elements that fought on the losing side did not want a strong state. Most of them wanted a weaker state, and no control from the educated classes. As is the case in all Civil Wars, neither side had it right.

            What we need is a new blueprint beyond the faultlines of the past. And the major faultline is power, and not right or left. Blaming the Catholic Church is wasting time, fighting the wrong battle. The chances are that the Catholic Church will reform itself before the state will, simply because the forces against such structural realignment are stronger inside the state, whilst they are declining hard within the Catholic Church. The process of reform in the state will only start when the state gets a cash crunch. Until then, the state will look for bailouts from the European Union (read the German taxpayer). The fact is that unlike the Church, you cannot opt out of paying for the state, (unless you are Bono or Mr. O’Brien). This is the source of the problem. There is no recognition of reality in D2, while Maynooth will have to make an hard uncompromising reckoning with reality that will push it towards mending it’s ways.

            The real problem is the secular institutional framework of the state. It has all gone rotten. The best example of state ineptitude that can be provided is the HSE. (NAMA might “out-HSE the HSE”, soon). As Bertie Ahern said concerning the Digout Dozen “I Didn’t appoint them to state boards because they gave memoney, I appointed them to state boards because they were me freinds”. It has become corrupt and ineffective. It is a drag on the rest of the economy.

            The state structure needs to be made more open, decentralized, more efficient, simpler, less obtrusive. We need to throw out the concept of the powerful Richelieu state. The patronizing, inefficient, arrogant state needs to be replaced by the humble, efficient, accountable state.

            If we look at NAMA, we see a continuation of the mistakes of the past. The same institutional overdrive is being tried again. Institutional failure begets an even stronger institutional response. And if we read Lisbon carefully, we see the same doctrine of centralization being proposed for the European Union. Hilariously enough, a core collection of the same elements in Irish society, is enthusiastically in favour of both these big state projects. The elements that are in control of Irish society. As usual. Thei shock as a result of the crisis should have resulted in a power shift in Irish society. But the vested interests want to make sure there will never be any powershifts in Irish society. Whatever games have to be played to maintain the essentials as they are will be played.

            Somebody should tell the Diaspora, before they get another punishment from Authority Ireland, and end up having nothing to do with her for another generation !!! We need to reform our ways as a people. It is unavoidable. Looking for more bailouts is not the real answer.

          • wills

            authority figures telling us what is true and what is not
            and controlling our critical thinking. Rule by lie…!!!!

  17. wills

    Hullo hullo hullo to one and all.

    Fingers at the ready, we are in for one hell’va fight of our lives here in direland.

    NAMA must be stopped, it cannot be so where the powers at be, pass the cost of private banking engineered bubbles onto the
    backs of the country’s taxpayers after bubble bursts.

    Bond issuance is not for to be used to get private banking and property tycoons debts paid off for them.

    This is tyranny.

    NAMA is tyranny. It is a a robbing of taxpayers future earnings to pay for a bill run up by a crony oligarch network ruling this country.

    David, a diaspora should not be tapped into as long as Ireland is been run by a small clique of crony capitalist gangsters and
    absorbed into a county that presently is rotten to the core in
    crony capitalist corruption.

    All our energies and mental powers must be fixed on blowing the whistle on NAMA and exposing it in pin point accuracy for what it is exactly before we as a society
    go charming and re-integrating our distant cousins.

  18. HeavyEnlightenedOne

    Well done!

    Anyone who has developed anything, knows about a leap of faith,
    And this notion of a Diaspora, is not even a leap.

    Go for it, drive it, and bring it to be.

  19. Tim

    wills… I honestly believe that “twitter.com” is suitable for you. (as well as here… please make sure that you stay)

    I use twitter, POM uses twitter, DMcW uses twitter……

    I think you should try it. I will follow you.

  20. Josey

    We’ll never revolt, the criminals will never be brought to justice, all these bankers and developers still command respect in the eyes of the public….we’re in awe of them, our Gods!!!

  21. As a US descendent of a McWilliams family who left Ireland 100 years ago, I have followed the fortunes and misfortunes of Ireland intently all my life. Over the generations we have never become less Irish and I am visiting Ireland next week for the first time. I am thrilled to have found your blog and this notion of an Irish diaspora has been on my tongue for the past few years. I can tell you that getting a good education and as much education as possible has been the core of our Irish family values. I hope that this large and willing and homesick contingent of irish-Americans, irish-Australians etc. can aid ireland in anyway possible.

  22. Deco

    David, another theory exists about the New World. This states that the optimists, the seekers of fairness, the opportunity creators, the inventive element in European society got out of Europe in the 1800s and went to America. This influenced American thinking to be generally more upbeat, more positive, more egalitarean, more transparent and fairer than the society of the old World.

    The Irish who left Ireland have mores that are in contravention to the mores of those who dominate Ireland. They also have a broader and more blanced view of the world, and are less narrow minded. If only the Diaspora could demand more accountability, more transparency and more openness of Ireland, then this would be an enormous step forward for our society.

  23. liam

    Welcome back David.

    Having spent the last 12 or so years living outside of Ireland, I think you have really hit on something. It occured to me when reading the Generation Game that in fact of the Irish that I have met abroad, it is the second, third (and beyond) generations that seem to have the strongest sense of attachment to Ireland. I cannot over-emphasise how their sense of ‘Irishness’ is an extremely important part of their identity, and sits comfortably alongside their connections to the country they currently live in. Its a huge competitive advantage for Ireland.

    There is a lot of cynicism in Ireland about the Diaspora, I think we need to get over that. Our constitution recognises the affinity these people have to Ireland, regardless of the passports they currently hold or the accents they speak with. Time to live up to this.

    PoM, essentially what you are saying is that experience and perspective gained outside of Ireland is valuable, and I agree.

    Good luck at Farmleigh.
    -L

  24. Philip

    The notion of diaspora is just a way of making a small entity bigger. I think this is DMcW’s solution of trying to make Ireland look bigger than it actually is. The game is one of influence. Creating the global Irish gang. It’s a nice and comforting idea being part of a bigger family. It is also self deluding with regard to the realities of business.

    Make no mistake, the Irish where they are successful is all about doing things right for the environment and time they live in. This is the same for all nationalities. The failure rate of Irish abroad is very likely no different than for in Ireland or indeed ano other nation/nationality. Welcome to the human race and all it’s ups and downs.

    No one needs a diaspora – even its existance means a network club – as our Israeli friends have well achieved and good luck to them. I want my children to be independant and be able to stand on their own feet well able to link with anyone on the basis of good ethics a clear thinking – not by being part of a club who – before you know it – start demanding dues and forming their own internal elites and hierarchies.

    Stop relying on a saviour – for for those believers among you – he’s buzzed off 2000 years ago and expects you to stop relying on magic…just solid ethics and thinking.

  25. noonep

    Re: “need to go beyond the politics of the recent past, and start putting intelligence in and take ideology out”,

    Well we definitely need to go beyond the politics cause we can’t afford the buying every gombeen off any more!,
    Even the courts here are a tool for reflecting the elite views rather than carefully interpreting the laws made by enacted legislation.

    Re: ‘The Irish who left Ireland have mores that are in contravention to the mores of those who dominate Ireland’, there was a theory that the reason the apparent rates of schizophrenia were so high in West of Ireland was due to the emigration of the fittest leaving the genetic ‘dross’ behind. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/141/8/966
    This apparent excess has been explained away as an epidemiological artifact, http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/48/3/254
    but there maybe some truth to the traits and characteristics of those who cannot put up with the peasent politics, up sticks and leave.

  26. paddythepig

    ‘ It’s not what you know, but who you know. ‘ This attitude has resulted in no small part in getting us to where we are now.

    And now, to pick up the debris from our self-induced economic implosion, we appeal to the ‘Diaspora’. It’s the new buzzword in town.

    The way forward is to get our thinking caps on, and to create products and services that will sell abroad, brining money into the country. We should form our allegiances with the best and most innovative individuals, organisations, and nations. Based on merit alone.

    Playing the Paddy card may well open a few doors and fair enough if it does, but concentrating on it to the expense of true innvoation and intellectual excellence is a mistake. Ultimately, it’s a very Irish reaction to solving a problem.

    Paddy

  27. Farmleigh , what a talking shop that will be too !,…before ‘We the Irish’ start looking for our relations to help us out , we need to sort ourselves out right here.
    We have a political mess the best paid and most useless group of individuals governing this Nation, with examples where we pay a qute Kerry man half a million in two years for been the chair person of our politicians and , now because of this positions independence , he can’t comment on this massive figure!…
    It is pure economic fantasy journalism as the Paddy won’t do any thing unless he sees something in it for him.
    With regard to Sykpe, twitter , MySpace, Facebook and utube , we are still a decade behind when it comes to building these networks into our commercial life’s
    We should have having a ‘summer’ of protests here , but no sure it’s ‘the summer’ so we do nothing. We collectively wait to see will someone else do it and this is why we are in the mess we find our selves in this day.
    As for our National Broad caster …. simply on a journalistic level and over all content been puppets of the State it is the weakest within Europe for letting , the Nation know what is really going on here .
    Maybe we could do business with our Friends in Argentina , their supreme court has ruled marijuana to be de criminalized . Our broke farmers could go over and harvest that crop !

  28. Let’s get a few things straight and save ourselves time and energy:

    (1) The beauty of David McW’s espousal of the Diaspora, as a valuable resource, is that the idea divides people: into those who think negatively towards it and those who welcome it.
    (2) This divide helps because it legitimises each side.
    (3) The vital point I want to make: those who are against the idea have plenty of other things they can put their weight behind. They can pursue links with people who are not part of the Diaspora. This is not a zero-sum game. Some people can treasure, and mine, the Diaspora – while others concentrate on targets with different boundaries.

    So let’s agree not to waste time and energy criticising the preference of others. Time will tell, only practise will reveal the most fruitful avenue.

    In other words, I don’t want anyone to argue that my decision to invest my creativity in building, sustaining and reaping the leverage offered within the Diaspora ‘tribe’ is misplaced. In return, I won’t waste my time trying to persuade you that what you favour is fruitless.

    What I’d like to urge is that those of us who support the idea move forward to the next stage: doing something about it.

    I suggest the next step in that direction might be to write a “strategic plan” – inviting input from all who view the concept favourably. The others can get on with their own thing, and we can wish them well with that.

    David has access to many people; he’s getting on with his furrow. We can do the same and provide at least a thinking camp within which alliances can be deepened.

    I suggest we hold a ‘congress for the Diaspora’ where we could meet face to face and build more rapport.

    • liam

      “This is not a zero-sum game…” agreed. We may argue about how we move forward but we MUST move. Time for feeling sorry for ourselves is well past us now.

    • Philip

      Tell you what, I’ll get behind any diaspora idea that waters down the gombeenism and suffocating vested interests and cronyism in this country. This is where the win can only be. Just show me the way.

  29. Tim

    From today’s Indo:
    http://www.independent.ie/breaking-news/national-news/banks-agree-to-lend-carroll-companies-more-money-1874846.html

    “A number of banks who are owed millions of euro by companies controlled by developer Liam Carroll have said they are willing to lend the companies more money if a scheme of arrangement is put in place.

    Anglo Irish Bank, in a letter, said it had no objection to an examiner being appointed in a bid to save the Zoe Group and is willing to finance the companies further to the tune of over €60 million.

    The High Court also heard today that Ulster Bank, KBC, Bank of Ireland, AIB and Bank of Scotland are in support of an examiner being appointed.

    In its letter, Bank of Scotland went as far as saying that the companies had a reasonable prospect of survival.

    Lawyers for Mr Carroll told the court that the companies are expected to have earned €40 million by the end of the year, taking into account rental incomes and dividends.”

    Now folks, I have a number of questions about this lil’ episode, where banks are rushing to aid failing business; chief among them are:

    1) Since the Supreme Court deemed the business (recovery) plan “Fanciful”, why are the banks ignoring that ruling?
    2) Isn’t it true that Mr Carroll owes €1.2 billion, already, and not the mere “millions” mentioned in the article?
    3) Since we gave AIB €3.5 billion in recapitalisation, isn’t the extra €60 million it is offering Mr Carroll OUR money?
    4) Can anyone explain this to me: If I lose my case in the high court, I have right of appeal to the Supreme Court; If I lose in the Supreme Court, I have right of appeal to the European Court, right? So, how did Mr Carroll avoid this step and return, instead, to the lower court?

    I am not a Barrister, a Solicitor or even a banker, but this seems illogical to me – all of it: the offer of an extra 60 million and the hopping around in the courts.

    I think it reeks to high Heaven! Am I missing something here? Is it me?

    • Yes Tim it is you !, Liam Carroll under Company Law is entitled to be where he is , what is incredulous is the Banks willing to sink as you’ve rightly said ‘Our Money’ into this mammoth over structured property empire .
      It is a card they ( the banks) must play for their share holders , as it is possible if this fails NAMA will hit several more obstacles , this will depend on how the Dutch will want this played out .This is just one property case that the Dutch have on their books , if your Lads don’t get NAMA in fast then you will see Mr Dunne and McNamara been taken this same path.
      Your High rolling great Leamas party has created this house of cards, now Biffo must wish we’d taken Betie’s advice and killed our selves instead of now having to live through this economic mess.
      As for your Glass friends in Wicklow what are they doing now the building madness has stopped ,how long will they stay going ?

      • Tim

        Thanks, BrendanW; I knew you would say it was me! (you are the reason I put that question in!)

        However, I cannot find the citation in the Companies Act that allows what is happening here; can you direct me to it, please?

        Unusually, I agree with your points about the banks and NAMA and I want to see the others “taken this same path”. The “grass-roots” are not in favour of NAMA. I am afraid that such developers are hoping for NAMA to arrive quickly and save them and that the Dutch you mention are upsetting the applecart by moving now. I fear that the court proceedings are a “delaying-tactic” in order to allow NAMA to ride in on the white horse for them.

        As for my Glass friends, all is well; they have been here for 28 years; they have a massive spread of loyal customers over that time; to them, the “building-boom” was a brief blip on the graph that was, and remains, healthy. Thank you for asking. One of the twins (the one I am closest to) bumped into my wife in town today and informed her that his 15 year old dog had died a few weeks ago; he wept on the street – there and then- just re-telling the bad news. Measure of his priorities?

        They will “stay going” exactly as they did before the “Boom”.

        (Hoping you are well, Brendan).

    • Deco

      Tim – Great to have you back on the board again.

      There is a word for it ‘Ponzi’. Except this is a state instituted, bank approved, ‘ponzi’ scheme. Sometime around 2002 we became a complete Ponzi economy. In order to sustain any ponzi scheme you need a substantial proportion of the population in the same intellectual state as a lemming. Basically a crowd follower, in a state of frenzy, and attempting to rouse the rest of the crowd in the same direction. And you need a series of vested interests who knew how to organize oligopolistically. And as Hobbs proved in RipOff Republic – we certainly had that. And lastly we need a media to tell us that it was the new normal. And we had that also.

      At this stage the population is begining to do more thinking and less following. And the thinking is getting deeper. And the following is getting less and less based on whims. And the media is tracking the population and trying to stay in touch. Which explains why the Indo is now telling us what is really going on in Ireland.

      Where are the buyers for these properties ?

      And more critically where are the shoppers who are not already maxxed out and who are going to sustain the unbelievable number of shopping malls in Ireland ? There is a massive oversupply of retail space in Ireland. The only cure is to convert it into residential property – which incidentally is also in oversupply.

      Dan McLaughlin was telling us that consumer spending would go up forever. Maybe he was hardly talking about what was going on in Enniskillen or Newry ??? Consumer spending in Louth and Monaghan is not what it used to be, and the rest of the country is in a similar position. You know there is a problem when you see people in Diublin Airport, arriving off off flights from Germany and carrying new inkjet printers or electronics equipment as hand luggage !!!

      And now we have Garret Fitzgerald telling everybody that NAMA is the only answer. Come to think of it he was no economic Einstein either when he was in charge. He wasn’t as caring as he imagined himself to be either. Saving Bewleys cafe so that life could continue as usual for the chattering classes, but letting the workers in Hawlbowline sink, and in the process ending the old industry sector when the new industry sector was not ready to replace it.

      It’s like as if the political establishment finds it harder to end ANIB than to tell the PAYE taxpayer somebody has to carry the burden for the stupidity and excess.

      By the way the latest rumour on Liam Carroll is that he will go to get treatment for depression, and that as a result nobody, even ACC with a court order, will be able to get his assets. An Dli agus m’asal beag dubh (aris).

      At this stage the Dutch must think this is a crony country. Which would be correct. Is it any wonder in the context of the way that we run the banking system that international investors are not queueing up to come in here like they did five years ago. It is like as if something has changed. The old charm does not seem to be rubbing off like it used to. As Rambo de Burgo might say….the line is in the sand….and that line seperaated the time before the Anglo-Permo loan went public and the time since…..that was the moment when it became official that Ireland is a cronyism infected economy….two competing banks doing a deal that was effectively designed to cover up a problem from the shareholders of the other….and they both said that the regulator told them to do and not to say anything…..and the regulator had nothing to say afterwards…..and nobody put in jail…..and nobody even asked to explain what happened….and the offenders tried to stick two fingers up at the Dail.

      Ideology is taking second place to an urbane sophisticated code of nepotism, opportunism, market rigging and deceit. Ireland is not screwed by simple peasantry. Ireland is screwed by patrician families who pass jobs to each other, and who spend time networking when the rest of us are trying to master object oriented programming, the photon effect or learn all the genuses in phylum cordata. Nudge, nudge, nod and a wink.

      And this crooked culture has bankrupted us, the rumours are saying. But officially it is one of a long list of other reasons. Any reason will do. Because the lemmings must not be alerted to their state of mind.

      But people are wising up. NAMA is very unpopular. It is a typical IBEC endorsed policy initiative – completely out of touch with the population as a whole, thinking people and lemming intellects combined. Like all IBEC ideas it consists of doing something against the common interest, in order to preserve the uneconomically sound agenda of the few. Democracy is the problem for such policy initiatives. Hopefully democracy will prevent NAMA.

      • wills

        Deco, i suspect POnzi Rep took crony capitalism and ran with it too far where as
        internationally the oligopoly banking ruling elites well understand that
        one must always keep the scam alive by never fully devouring the host.
        Unfortunately the POnzi merchants in POnzi Rep lacked the self restraint
        or smarts too stick by this golden POnzi rule.

      • Tim

        Deco, thanks for such a full reply. Where to start….???

        Let us start with your point about “cronyism”, because that is the heart of the issue – unfortunately, it is also at the heart of DMcW’s article, but that I something that we must address later.

        Cronyism is, precisely, what is happening right now; NAMA, An Bord Snip, the Taxation Report – all “Cronyism”, the whole lot….. all of it, is about protecting the “buddies”. The fact that people are suffering as a result does not matter to these people; the fact that children in school are suffering as a result, does not matter to these people; the fact that people are losing their jobs as a result, does not matter to these people. The fact that people are dying on trollies as a result, does not matter to these people….. we, the “people” are nothing more than “cannon-fodder”, or the “lemmings” you mention…

        The “ordinary people of Ireland” do not matter. We are cannon-fodder (sure, we will continue to reproduce and deliver more “fodder”) and “the system” will continue.

        Even George Lee’s “solution” will not work, because of this, among other reasons: because we are POOR, we are dependent upon credit….. the banks will not release credit to this country again until they have protected themselves as “profit-making-entities” (but they will not re-trench themselves, the TAXPAYER will be forced to do it for them) and they will not lend again to feed this POOR country’s need for credit, NAMA or no NAMA, until AFTER they have covered their own asses, to the tune of €1.67 TRILLION (which is the Private Sector debt in this country).

        How will NAMA fix this? Even with €90 billion? – it cannot.

        The banks exist to make money through greed – nothing else. At the moment, they are suckling from the teat of the taxpayer…….. (why are they not allowed to fail, as their own business-model would dictate? Cronyism).

        See PTSB jackin’ up their mortgage-rate? Especiall on the “tracker”? ( the FULL 2.25% allowed by the ECB?) …. While those same customers are under-writing the self-same “guarantee” that is keeping them afloat? Madness!

        Yet, ALLOWED, by the government that is guaranteeing them!

        If democracy is to prevent NAMA (and you know that I have always said that we have a democratic defecit, so how will it happen?), the “Lemmings” will not only have to wake up alot quicker, they will have to STAND up and be counted and STORM Leinster House!

    • wills

      tim, this link will give you an idea of the scale and scope of POnzism contaminating the body socio – economic politic,

      http://www.zerohedge.com/article/head-china-sovereign-wealth-fund-openly-admits-asset-bubble-addressed-creation-more-bubbles

  30. Michael

    David,

    While I always admire your optimism and can-do attitude, I am skeptical about your dreams for the Diaspora as a panacea for Ireland’s ongoing problems, especially when it applies to those magical 30 million Irish-Americans.

    Let me pose a question: stripped of sentimentality and tribal loyalty, why would Americans want to support Ireland in this day and age?

    The truth is that the Internet and the Celtic Tiger have revealed an ugly side of the Irish to which many sentimental Irish-Americans had not been privy. I’m talking about the snide, mean-spirited, relentless attack on Americans in Ireland’s public discourse (going far beyond the failures of the Bush Administration), and particularly on Irish-Americans, who are lampooned and treated with absolute disdain by the generation of Celtic Tiger cubs you so brilliantly dissect in your book, The Pope’s Children.

    To get the full gist of this distinctive begrudgery, just refer to the Irish blogs over the past decade, the bebo pages of the young Irish, or, read Kevin Myers’s recent character assassination of Senator Edward Kennedy and Irish Americans in the Irish Independent – http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/kennedys-were-leaders-of-the-most-nauseating-and-sentimental-of-any–ethnic-minority-in-us-1874379.html

    Since celebrities are largely forgiven for being American in star-struck Ireland, most of the invective is directed at ordinary Irish-Americans, the ones who loyally support Irish culture, music, dance, theater and literature in the USA; vacation in Ireland to help bolster its economy; or give generously to Ireland’s many philanthropy groups. And while you may recognize the incredible talent pool among Irish-Americans in academia, business, government and the arts, in the shorthand of modern Irish punditry, Americans are caricatured as loud, fat, stupid or naïve, and therefore ripe for Rip Off Ireland to give them what the deserve.

    I promise you there is a steady fraying of the “deep affection” that Irish-Americans once had for Ireland. And I just don’t think the Irish charm offensive, with all this blarney about the tribes coming together for the sake of dear old Ireland, is going to energize the Diaspora.

    But the Irish as ungrateful begrudgers is only part of the problem.

    People in the Diaspora want to know — Why would we invest in Ireland, all for the sake of sentimentality, when Ireland is so rife with political corruption and cronyism? And what have the Irish done with the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been sent there via the International Fund for Ireland and hundreds of Irish philanthropy groups raising money around the world over the last quarter century? What have you to show for all that money and good will?

    To me, Ireland has an attitude problem toward its Diaspora, and a credibility problem in general, and perhaps that is worth raising at your Diaspora gathering of the corporate titans in September.

    • Tim

      Michael, DMcW never said it was a “Panacea”.

      “skeptical about your dreams for the Diaspora as a panacea for Ireland’s ongoing problems”

  31. huffnpuffpolly

    Hi all,
    Methinks the business and political diaspora are well disposed towards Ireland but could probably be improved. Not sure where DMcW was in the ninties but Mary Robinson did highlight the diaspora and there was even talk of giving them the vote. I vehemently opposed the vote for those living abroad as I had lived in San Francisco from 1985-1989 and in my humble opinion many of the “Irish” had a very skewed view of Ireland and were for the most part supporters of SF/IRA. The older Irish Americans tended towards Reaganomics, racism; and young and old towards homophobia. Had the vote been given to Irish Americans Sinn Fein would now be a greater force in southern politics and I suspect this is why it never got going. I would seriously dispute the assertion that the US is a more egalatarian society than Ireland. The US has without doubt the best education and health system for the top 10% of its population. For example, it costs $51,000.00 per year to go to Tufts College in Boston and any decent sort of healthcare insurance will cost a minimum of $1000 per month. I’m just back from a stay in Washington DC and York PA and I’ve had discussions about people with low IQ breeding more low IQ – the inference being you deserve to be where you are. Just listen to the balanced? views of two Irish Americans on FOX; The O’Reilly factor and Sean Hanitty.
    Adamabyss – I suspect you are wrong when you say a minority of Irish are………I would argue the vast majority. We are poorly served by our politicians,senior public servants and legal servants, those of all parties. There is no vision and no commitment to the public good. The judges “dubious argument” that they not be included in the levy is the best example of this and their pension entitlements highlighted by McCarty further shows in whose interests they rule??. But the most disturbing fact for me is that at least 90% of our population would behave in the same way if they were in power. Posters – you may consider this negative but it is reality. Most political theory now accepts the fact that truth is not part of the reality of political and business life in a democracy or any other political entity. It is abundantly clear that capitalism or the market economy does not work when left to its own devices but US Republicans still urge “less government” and “less taxes”.
    The ideology underpinning growth is that of the consumer economy where we use a product, discard it and buy another. WE process food to give it added value even though it is better without processing. The food processing companies will tell you it is what we want. We encourage people to scrap their car even though it is perfectly adequate. I don’t like that lamp; it is dated, last year’s style. I cannot wear last year’s coat, everyone would laugh at me. I must have the latest mobile phone. My niece would only consider an Apple Mac as she heads off to college.
    We have to change the way we think. Are our schools discussing these issues with our children in real debate, with subtlety and encouraging them to think the issues through. Hey, I know I expect too much of teachers!! They’re just human.

    • wills

      The market economy left too its own devices works every time.

      Demand and supply intersect and price equilibrium follows.

      Huff’ your theory on consumerism is spot on for frivolous spenders but for not so for males.

    • Tim

      Huffy,

      “Are our schools discussing these issues with our children in real debate, with subtlety and encouraging them to think the issues through. Hey, I know I expect too much of teachers!! They’re just human.”

      Certainly, I facilitate such debate – though I am not “required” to, by contract.

      We go “above and beyond the “call-of-duty”, because we want to.

      And, yes, it IS true that you expect too much of teachers (for a paltry 35k per year[ten - twelve years of being a "temp"]! you ask alot!

      • ‘for a paltry €35k per year !,….get over your self Tim , considering the actual hours you do compared to an IT engineer who has to work 48 weeks for forty hours for this money .
        Why do Irish teachers think they should be in Europe’s top earners ,

    • Deco

      I disagree concerning ideas that Irish-Americans are all SF supporters etc.. Most are not. It is just that those that are not are queitly doing their business looking after their families, and serving their communities. They have better things to do than sit in bars boasting and talking bravado. But if you go to Irish bars abroad you will see this. Therefore I avoid Irish bars abroad except to watch matches. And then I leave quietly afterwards. It is fun being able to know more about Hurling than any Northerner who is being overly patriotic, and disagreeing with their concept of patriotism. It completely unsettles them :)))

      Sinn Fein have used these people as a means to supplement their coffers, along with the odd spare Northern Bank Five pound note, so that their activists can buy infleunce in the media here. They were even trying to buy control of radio stations at one stage. There seems to be this belief that if you control the media that you control the people, and the way they think (as evidenced by the ambitions of Denis O’Brien-tax avoider). Plus they have their pal Jack O’Connor in SIPTU, who wants an ILP/SF alignment. They have got an increased level of sophistication. (Or put another way, they have descended to a new level of cute hoorism).

  32. There’s some interesting comments going on here (diaspora, NAMA and otherwise), so i thought i’d sum up my own thoughts based on the original article.

    The diaspora cannot be defined solely from within Ireland, and we cannot necessarily say what it is, or should be, or how we like to ‘use’ it. Philip is right when he says ‘We are pragmatists, opportunists and wanderers, we are guerilla fighters by nature’, but the view that it is within Irelands control to ‘form a diaspora’ misses the point that the diaspora already exists.

    We can however educate ourselves as to what the diaspora is about, and determine what we would like our relationship with it to be.

    This sense of a connection comes from family ties, ancestry, heritage, traditions, values, history, adversity, common thinking, and other aspects that are more to do with emotions and feelings. The Irish abroad don’t have any affection for ‘celtic tiger’ Ireland, their affinities run deeper than that.

    Strong communities exist around the world yet we have no visibility of them. RTE shows ‘Nationwide’ and TV3 hits us with ‘Brits Abroad’ (don’t bother watching it!), yet how many of us know about thriving Irish clubs and organisations on foreign shores, GAA in Argentina, charitable work carried out by Irish individuals with little or no support from ‘central control’ etc etc etc. As a simple example search ‘Irish club Canada’ on Google to get the idea.

    In the same way that millions abroad show an allegiance towards Ireland, or at least cherish its core values, we should be communicating that their sense of connection is not misplaced, and that we recognise and cherish THEIR existence. We should see similarities and seek to understand differences, we should learn what open mindedness and broader thinking can offer us.

    David’s interpretation of the diaspora has definitely matured over the last year or two, and i sense a move away from the exploitative nature. I also think we should avoid terms such as tribe as they have negative connurtations. The ‘look at us, aren’t we doing well ‘mentality of the celtic tiger also needs to be replaced by a simpler yet more cultured way of thinking.

    Get the basics right and a natural flow will ensue. If this results in business deals and corporate alignments great, but this is’nt what the diaspora is about. What is obvious though is the potential for tourism – millions cherish the thought of a holiday to Ireland, whether it be a family visit or just to get in touch with their origins. They should be welcomed with warmth, recognition, and respect, and without the view that it’s just another wallet shipped in courtesy of an airline ready for a rip-off.

    The diaspora transcends politics, political parties, and economics – it’s a people thing. Yep, let the government implement core policies and initiatives to facilitate a better environment, but ultimately it’s down to all of us to create the right relationship.

    • Tim

      Mick, DMcW and Folks…….

      Too many of us are speaking of ther diaspora as if those people were “other” than “us”.

      They are not. They are not, even, “The Diaspora”.

      They (correctly) still think they are “Us”.

      Isn’t that the whole point?

      Please, do not insult them.

      This may be the “Key”.

  33. Hi Tim,

    You’re right in your understanding, other than i am of the ‘diaspora’.
    Born in England to Irish parents – moved to Ireland 5 years ago.

    Where that puts me in the scenario i’m not sure, but i hope it does at least give me a broader perspective.

    I don’t have a ‘them’ and ‘us’ attitude, quite the opposite. In fact any hint of exclusiveness riles!

    I would’nt worry too much about the word ‘diaspora’, it’s a bit easier than saying ‘a scattering of seeds’.

    Other than that i think your sentiment is spot on.

  34. Malcolm McClure

    David: can you please explain how any solution to our economic crisis that your Global Irish Economic Forum produces will differ from Fascism, as defined in Wikipedia?
    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/economist-rallies-our-exiles-in-push-for-recovery-1866876.html
    There is a grave danger that this interesting blog could turn into a personality cult with your good self in the role of Ireland’s Mussolini.

    I respectfully suggest that you invite Alan Dukes to chair the Farmleigh conference, as the outstanding voice of sanity to be heard through the current cacophony of issues and solutions.

  35. Good Morning to all and sundry and it’s great to read all the above

    comments and feel once more that ‘our crossings’, in the hot desert

    when this site was off the air, has finally made ‘our mirage’ a real

    reappearance of life as we want to know it to be.

    The true definition of Irish Diaspora is ‘US’ as Tim explained .

    Our names prove that we arrived from somewhere else before we

    landed on the aoulde green soil of Ireland ….the land in the west or

    westland….Lynch – boat people , mc na mara …sons of the sea etc

    In fact if we really expand this concept ‘the originals’ had sallow skin

    and not white skin…..as in the Phoenicians and the Mayans before

    them when the world revolved differently to the way we now know it

    to be.

    The concept of economics in any society is only successful if

    our ‘animal instincts’ is driven to perform to succeed this

    means ‘blood is thicker than water ‘ and nature aids that process to

    win in our actions and needs .Our seeds maybe scatered in many

    parts of the world nevertheless our emotions always remain

    attached and wanting to connect again.

    We need as a New Nation find a New Direction and allow the rivers

    flow to harness all the energy we want to use .

  36. Deco

    David’s analysis of the NAMA story will be interesting – in the context that in his documentary years ago, he was called it a property bubble, when Dan McLaughlin and pals were saying it was going up forever.

    The latest economist to call for an abolition to the SuperQuango is Dr. Sean Barrett (TCD). He has a track record in lambasting ineffective state programs which in the end became self perpetuating hierarchies of nonsense, phuney tendering processes, and cronyism. [And you can throw in the odd nail bar receipt as well when you are at it.]

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0902/1224253663079.html

    This is to borrow a phrase from the German BundesFinanzMinister “crass Keynesianism”, or alternatively “socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor” (US Representative Ron Paul). Basically an expensive short term stunt to push the problem out, and protect the well connected.

  37. Deco

    It is high time that somebody threw the Competition Law book at Denis O’Brien’s media interests. This is another example of control of the debate on national issues. He is getting more powerful now than Tony O’Reilly ever was. Nobody says anything about it. His coverage of the tribunals will be skewed for one thing !!

    “The Tax-Diaspora” [O'Brien, O'Reilly, Bono, The Three Amigos, etc...]

  38. liam

    Don’t feed the Trolls.

    Happy trails.

  39. huffnpuffpolly

    Fellow posters, ye crack me up – in a nice way. Today is my last free day for a while so I’m indulging myself.
    @Deco, I did not say that all Irish Americans are SF/IRA. I said many. And I’m absolutely not anti-American, I loved my job there and had great friends. Hiking the Grand Canyon and back country Yosemite could almost make me a believer.
    @Wills, I’m presuming your first two sentences on the market are ironic? If not, you and I live on different planets. Your frivolous and male sentence is simply hilarious – I guess I’m just a silly Friv.
    @Tim, I’m glad to hear you’re a dedicated teacher and I think it’s really unfair if you’re still a temp after 10 years. However, I cannot understand your dedication to FF. I think NAMA at long term economic value is a disaster. I’m considering NO to Lisbon as a protest. We gotta wake them up somehow.
    @mick regan I don’t believe we necessarily have common thinking with people of Irish descent who grow up abroad. We are all a product of our environment and a bit of Irish dancing at the club does not give one a real notion of life in Ireland. Some will easily fit into Irish life, others will not. It is very difficult for some returned emigrants to adapt especially if they don’t have family in the community.
    On a broader debate what’s so special about being Irish or American or German or English?

  40. Philip

    If it’s diasporas you want, have a look at Brittany’s interceltic cultural festivities it hosts every year around this time. This unifies the celtic strands of music and langauge across France, Ireland, Spain, UK and beyond. I have yet to see the same globally viewed dedication in Ireland about celtic culture. Maybe I have missed something. I fiigure Ireland could do worse than host a Global Celtic New Scientist, Architectural Prizes, Beer making etc. “Súil Eile” on a global scale but less of the comely maidens dancing at the cross roads nonsense please.

    As for the NAMA atrocity that is unfolding, it is clear how uncivic minded our public servants and representatives actually are. This is transcending beyond FF, FG etc. These are now labels for clubs – the parties behind them have been internally emasculated and aligned with vested interests. Greens are the latest to be sucked in…on the basis of …to have influence you need power..to have power you need to turn a blind eye. That’a all that is happening.

    We live in scary times – times where the Gardai turn a blind eye to druggies on the street as they hassle ordinary folk. Where ordinary folk are the only people the police will hassle because it is safe where the law protects delinquent non-payers if they check themselves into a psycho clinic. The ordinary folk are without representation sandwiched between unpoliced vested interests and unpoliced criminality. Ordinary folks whose children are mostly educated by temps, nursed by temps, employed (more and more) as temps and bullied by the state.

    Scary times guys…these ordinary folk never felt they had to fight for their rights because they believed that compliance (obeying the law, paying taxes, getting an education, working hard) meant they had rights.

    As for Lisbon – this is where the Ordinary people have one piece of power left. If they say yes, some would reason it’s a way of giving power to someone who is competent. If they say no, some would reason that we would cut ourselves off. Maybe this latter point might be challenged by the very fact of the success many of our previously cut off Diaspora. Rather than create a club per say, we should be looking at what the current diaspora is really telling us. Cutting the umbilical is probably not that bad an option after all.

  41. coldblow

    Welcome back David.

    You can’t be serious!! And to whoever suggested votes for emigrants: this is just mad. Instead we should be looking to restrict the franchise as the voters have proved they can’t be trusted. Let’s limit the vote to property owners. Large property owners to get multiple votes according to the size of their stake in the country. These are the ‘real’ Irish.

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