September 21, 2009

Global Irish Economic Forum: Your Thoughts

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Global Irish Economic Forum
The Global Irish Econmic Forum took place over the weekend. A number of video clips and views from forum attendees are available online.

Please feel free to add your comments and thoughts below, as David is keen on reading them.

Audio/Video clips of the conference on RTE.ie


  1. Malcolm McClure

    David McW: I have just watched Saturday’s plenary session on RTE website and wanted to register my thanks for your efforts in making this event happen and congrats on your MC performance, which was excellent.
    I was much taken by the obvious consensus of the gathering to play their part in ‘team Ireland’ and desire to pull the country out of its mess. I was impressed by the careful constructiveness of Michael Martin, Denis O’Brien and Dermot Desmond, all of whom had been big players in creating the boom mentality in the first place. In retrospect I think that a lot of the comments on this website of yours, including some of my own, have been too negative in tone and for that I apologize. With this forum you have created a springboard to carry the country out of its gloom, if everybody pulls together, and you deserve our gratitude for this.
    The forum raised the suggestion of a portal blog for the attendees and invited guests who followed it on the internet. I should like to participate on that blog with constructive comments, if invited.

  2. finbarr

    It’s a comfort to know that a good idea is not lost, regardless of where it comes from David.

  3. DarraghD

    I’m really not won over on this whole idea of a “diaspora”, being dragged in to do what we have avoided doing during the last 20 years in Ireland, which is innovate and create opportunities FOR OURSELVES…

    At every juncture, we seem to want others to do the heavy lifting for us, be it US multinationals and their FDI, or here we are now expecting distant Irish people living abroad, to clean up our mess for us, while we will sit back as Paddy will do, and vote in sh*t politicans again and again and again???

    I’m convinced David that the solution to our problems here ultimately lie closer to home. I don’t buy into this “diaspora” philosophy thing at all really. In Ireland, if you start a business and do succeed (against all the odds), you are seen as having moved “beyond your station”, and if you fail, your seen as an abject failure. We can’t be surprised when we subscribe to such a negative and pitiful mindset, that we don’t have a strong indigenious enterprise culture!

    It sounds like more of the same to me, Paddy expecting somebody else, living somewhere else, to do the smart thinking, the heavy lifting and most importantly the risk taking, while Paddy sits on the dole drinking pints three nights a week, and gives out about the want of opportunity in Ireland???

  4. Positive before the forum, and positive after it.

    A new humility, a willingness to listen and learn, and the possibility of opening doors to a new mindset.

    A defined approach that paves the way for a plan of action with key cornerstones essential to make it work:

    1. Feasible proposals must be produced.
    2. Government to seriously review proposals and put support structures in place where feasible.
    3. Action plans to be ‘project managed’ start to finish.
    4. Mutual benefit and inclusiveness to be integral to the philosophy.
    5. Mutual benefit to be communicated outwards to the general public in a pragmatic and realistic manner.
    6. Will to succeed to come as much from within as from abroad.

    Honesty and respect should be seen and felt as synonymous bywords.

    Create top-down and bottom-up driving forces (eg: tourism and culture: those at the sharp end fully engaged and at the heart of any initiatives).

    Use the political engine to kickstart it, but let the concept move naturally into our way of thinking such that it eventually transcends politics.

    Early days but the message is ‘we can change the mindset, and to be honest why would we not want to?

    • Wired-Geese

      David,

      Well done to you (and DFA Team) on what was a great initiative. 2 comments.

      While RTE should be commended for the very good dedicated web site provided for those of us hat would have gladly donned wings to attend I was disappointed by the choice to only run a very minor (albeit important) story that evening on the news — i.e. Minister for Arts and Tourism lambasting McCarthy report recommendations — my jaw was on the ground as to the lack of coverage that evening — some of the most influential people globally were in town on their own dime to help us turn the corner and only lip service is paid to the vvent — this was a good news story that the country needed to hear and regardless of the Chatham House Rule there was lots of info emanating from the conference they could have run with … as visible from web site. I hope this parochial editing was not due to some editor feeling snubbed!?

      As to the comment above that the solution(s) to our dilemma are to be found at home first — I disagree whole heartedly The only way out of this mess is to export our way out (with an added importance given to indigenous exports) and to do this like any business you need to ask your customers what it is they want to buy — not supply what we think they want to buy. This is where the Diaspora comes in — they can accelerate this whole process. Ten years ago I set up a club and web site with a friend in Paris called the Wired Geese — It was a forum to get the Irish and those interested in Irish matters in the technology sphere to network together once a month over a pint with a key note on some subject that was likely to interest a broad audience. As a board member of the Franco Irish Chamber of commerce they were very supportive in assisting with the launch of this new initiative that would bring new / younger members into the fold. Held in a private function room of a Club or Pub last Thursday of each month as opposed to First Tuesdays) we usually got an Irish SME to front €200 that bought all a round. The Club after a year had close to 200 names on its books and people from all backgrounds would turn up —I was amazed to find the amount of “Irish” talent out there (inside the France Telecoms/ Airbus / Renaults that to date had no forum to hook up – Chambers of Commerce/ Ireland Funds while important do not always work for a wider “new economy” audience — time and cost being key constraints. Maybe now is time for a wider reaching “Wired Geese” network to harness all this talent / introductions — An Irish “Rotary Club” if you will where a member be he or she born Irish/ of Irish ancestry or have an Irish affiliation can hook up in what ever city he or she is in in the world with the local Wired Geese Chapter ?

      • DarraghD

        But hang on WG, this country is already full of Irish people, very well educated Irish people by all accounts, who have potential that they do not even know about…

        I can kind of see where David is coming from with trying to get people on board that have influence, maybe he is right when he says this can be part of the wider solution, but there are around 4 million people on this island who appear to believe that they have no role to play in the recovery of our economy???

        If I’m unemployed and I want to create an opportunity for myself and start up a small business, what support is there for me??? Sweet f*ck all, that’s what is there for me… Go down to the South Dublin County Enterprise Board with a business plan and tell them you want to start a business and see the reception you will get!

        I’m talking to people on the ground who are trying to start up smalll businesses and they are being laughed out the door by people running the County Enterprise Boards and banks that claim to be lending.

  5. I liked the the logic behind it and look forward to seeing the outputs. I was happy to hear the strong emphasis on doing stuff, rather than just talking, so fingers crossed you guys managed to get some actions (with people’s names beside them!) agreed upon.

    I was dissapointed by how closed off it was, I would have loved to see a live feed or extended discussion online.

    I noticed that the idea of a website/portal was floated and gained some traction, so I put together this site on Saturday afternoon -

    http://www.IrishDiasporaNetwork.com

    I’m not proposing that it could be the new portal, but moreso I just wanted to demonstrate that this kind of thing can be done for next to nothing (that cost me €0 and 15 mins), so let’s not blow a load of taxpayer money on something that gets launched next year!

    It could be used as a place for all the diaspora to connect, discuss, rediscover the culture – taking the benefits of the gaeltacht as you described and trying to replicate them online.

    Or it could be used to take the discussion that happened over the weekend and extend it to a wider audience.

    Lastly, I think the timing is very good. With the fall in emigration over the last 2 decades, the population of Irish-born diaspora is probably dropping very fast (in a good way, and for all the right reasons) so this could very well be the last chance we have to get it right.

  6. lff12

    Expecting the Irish “diaspora”, many of whom were forced out of Ireland in the first place by a lack of opportunity, to come back and/or clean up the mess we created in their absence, is a bit rich. Many good friends of mine were left in the mud by Irish society of the 80s and 90s, be it economically or socially – and sometimes both – and now we want them to fix the problems we created, and in some cases, may have contributed to driving them away in the first place? Oh come on, that really is a little bit rich.

    If on the other hand, you mean asking the Yanks and Aussies to loosen up their stringent visa requirements so oldies like me have an iota of a chance of qualifying and at least going to a society where I might actually have half a chance, then thats a different thing and I am all for that.

  7. kissane

    Apropos of the Farmleigh Jamboree some may find the link below to be of interest.
    “Only the Super Rich can Save us”.
    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/21/ralph_nader_on_the_g20_healthcare

  8. http://shandyhall.posterous.com/the-only-way-culture-can-save-us
    The Rev Laurence Sterne makes a passionate plea for the true value of art in society.
    Enjoy and discuss

  9. kissane

    The Moore the merrier, as long as we prioritize the Fraud Squad!
    http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/24/after_20_years_of_filmmaking_on

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