October 27, 2010

Harnessing diaspora will help us rebuild economy

Posted in Ireland · 198 comments ·

A couple of days after the Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh last year, I received a call from Galway-based technology entrepreneur Mike Feerick. This man had an extraordinary idea. Instead of waiting, he said, for Irish Americans and the like to come back to Ireland to trace their roots, how about we go the other way?

How about we organise and enable, using the latest online communications and database tools and resources, local Irish communities at a townland, village and parish level to find out who was born in their area, where they went, and trace them and their descendants worldwide?

That way, he suggested, we could systematically reunify our entire diaspora, creating “virtual communities”, expanding each local parish beyond its own physical boundaries and allowing them reach out across the world?

As soon as I heard and understood this idea, it wasn’t hard to see the common sense and power of deploying local, rather than national, resources to galvanise the global Irish tribe.

So began the development of a simple idea — something we could call ‘micro-diaspora’. The idea we had was rather than build a top-down structure with experts, we should provide the platform for ordinary people to do it for themselves.

In a sense we are inverting the pyramid. Rather than working from the apex, for example networking the top 500 important Irish Americans, we are doing the opposite — operating around the base of the diaspora pyramid.

When you think about it, the Irish diaspora may be 60 to 70 million worldwide but it can be broken down to perhaps no more than 3,000 Irish parishes north and south.

What if each village in Ireland could harness the economic power of its diaspora? What if, as a nation, we mobilised each parish in Ireland to actively research its genealogical past and identify those people who are of its own flesh and blood and reach out and engage their interest? This local-based approach is what, in another context, made the GAA one of the strongest organisations in the country. It is local pride that motivates people to get together to work in national competitions like the Tidy Towns.

After Farmleigh, the penny dropped for me. This is where the real strength lies in Ireland. Why not use this energy and local enthusiasm to build a vast network of local communities reaching out to their diaspora, to their ancestors’ kin?

Together with Mike Feerick and his international advisory board, we have worked on developing this concept over the past year.

Our efforts thus far culminate in the launch of the ‘Ireland Reaching Out’ South-East Galway Diaspora Pilot Project tomorrow night in Loughrea, Co Galway. What started as a few phone calls and a notion over a pint is now sponsored and supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Heritage Council and Galway County Council, the GAA and a number of Irish-American funders.

More than 30 parishes, including the towns of Loughrea, Gort and Portumna and all neighbouring parishes, are being targeted for the launch, although the project will start only in those parishes that make clear they wish to be part of this initiative.

We have developed the technology to enable every parish in Ireland to participate in this initiative and over the next nine months we are going to fine-tune it, to see where we can improve it and what the pitfalls are by using the east Galway district as our pilot project. Once the glitches and problems are ironed out, it will be available to everyone. The company is set up as a charity, so that we can all benefit equally.

Over the next nine months, the project has three main aims. First, to identify and engage 44,000 people outside the country who have direct links with the parishes in the Loughrea electoral area. We will do this using oral records, online genealogy and the latest technology to assemble all these data. The figure of 44,000 is the same number of people who live in the area today. So we want to trace one member of the Tribe for every one of us living in the area.

Second, the pilot project will attempt to attract 25 or 30 of these people home to their parish or townland of origin in June next year. The proposed ‘Week of Welcomes’ is similar to Israeli programmes that invite young Americans of Jewish heritage to come to Israel to learn more about who they are and how the state of Israel can be part of their lives.

Many years ago, I lived in Israel for a short while and was always amazed at how the Israelis used their Jewish diaspora. They seemed to have a forensic knowledge of who was who and where everyone was. They told me that these records were assembled by people like retired teachers, policemen and local enthusiasts. Ireland has the same resource here in every village and town just waiting to be tapped.

For the Week of Welcomes, these returning members of the local diaspora, many newly identified, will attend several days of lectures in the local school on Irish history, literature and so on, visit a local GAA match and attend a local Comhaltas session. Obviously, each parish will have its own particular programme.

The third goal is to identify, among the 44,000, approximately 500 enterprising members of the Tribe who can be buyers, advisers, investors and influencers for the benefit of not just the locality but the Irish nation as a whole.

The project’s real power is the sheer practicality and scalability of it all. Through the Ireland Reaching Out pilot project funding and the guidance of the promoters, parishes across Ireland will have the online tools to create their own databases of contacts and organise the international ‘Reach Out’.

It will then be down to local voluntary effort for each to make the best of the opportunity given. More than any element of the project, the secret to success will be how the local parishes respond and engage not just in the research of historical records, but in how the programme is carried on through the Week of Welcomes and beyond.

The ‘meet and greet’ element of welcoming the Irish diaspora has been a key missing ingredient in making sure people of Irish heritage return. Now this element can be introduced in a most profound way, opening up an Irish phenomenon that could perhaps even change Ireland as we know it.

In the past we didn’t have the technology to do this; now we have.

Last week on the train coming back from Galway, looking out at the fields and rivers, I thought about how many stories each of these fields hides when we consider that five million people born in this country emigrated — and most were born in smallholdings in these exact fields.

Now we can trace these people to precisely the fields they left. We can do this now. Can you imagine an Irish American getting an invitation to come back and see, not just Ireland, not just the county her great grandfather left, but the very fields that her ancestors farmed?

Today we have the means to do it. Micro-diaspora is the opportunity. So let’s go to work.

For more info email info@irelandxo.com The launch of the ‘Ireland Reaching Out’ South-East Galway Diaspora Pilot Project, Loughrea Hotel & Spa, October 28 at 7.30pm

  1. Gege Le Beau

    They better come see it quick as there might be no one left in a few months, but then didn’t Mike Soden recommend that we leave the EU and hook up as the 51st state, I thought we already were the 51st State given the multinational presence and the use of Shannon.

    Heard today that one US multinational here doesn’t pay people when they are out sick, off to the Social Welfare office with ye….

    In a broader sense, the US focus of this country troubles me, the average American is decent, but in a macro sense it is not a socio-economic model we would want to duplicate, we half tried it and look at where it got us, think we need to find ourselves before we start inviting people over.

    Know thyself.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Hi Gege,

      Shannon airport is used by countless nationalities. Does that mean the airport should be considered a multinational airport or an Irish one?

      • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

        Should be considered a US millitary base

        • michaelcoughlan

          Why is that? There is no military infrastructure at Shannon.

          • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

            Hundreds of thousands of US combat troops on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan have transited through Shannon. So much for our neutrality, although it was nice of Obama to thank us for our support, though he didn’t mention the CIA rendition flights that used Shannon.

          • michaelcoughlan


            Troops transiting trough Shannon does not indicate our support one way or another for the military motives of the Government to which those troops answer to. I think if we are going to have an informed discussion regarding Shannon airport we should not be basing the discussion on misleading assumptions.

          • strathspey

            Switzerland allows no military flights through it’s airspace, with the exception of mercy flights from the combat zone.

          • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

            What misleading assumptions? Don’t patronise me or prevaricate, afterall it’s not me that wrote Article 28.3 of the constitution. Just out of interest what positive consequences have come from our cowardly obsequience to the US desire to occuppy Afghanistan. Next time the British want to bomb Argentine forces should we blindly let them use our territory?

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi strathspey,

            And your point is?

          • Deco

            Is there a blog site where US Foreign Policy can be discussed ? because it seems that some people have a lot to say about it….and I suppose a dedicated site would be the ideal location to discuss it.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Deco,

            Thanks for your comment. This is precisely the point I trying to make by challenging the comments regarding Shannon.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Hundreds of thousands of foreign troops who made their ways to illegal wars, there are also questions around extraodrinary rendition. Again, if Russian troops were passing through Shannon to some illegal war in say Paraguay would we be so nonchalant?

            In relation to Ireland’s involvment in the arms trade. According to an Irish Examiner article (31 March, 2008) entitled ‘Republic exports €1 billion worth of arms materials’:

            ‘Preliminary figures for 2007 show the government officially admitting to granting €33.3 million in military export licenses but dual-use technology, which can go into civilian or military products came in a little less than €2.1 billion in foreign sales. Amnesty international and the ILP estimated 40% to 50% of the dual use licenses granted went to arms components such as those for Apache helicopters and other guidance systems. Some of the technology according to Amnesty could have fallen into the hands of brutal regimes and be used to crush pro-democracy uprisings in Tibet.

            Despite years of government denials that Ireland was involved in the arms trade, official military exports stands at €370 million since 1997, with dual use ones now topping €31 billion.”

            Amnesty International Ireland Reports ‘Controlling a Deadly Trade’ and ‘the Claws of the Celtic Tiger’ available here

            “Controlling a Deadly Trade outlines how Irish companies supply key components, particularly electronics and other high-tech products, for weapons systems assembled elsewhere, provide licensed Irish technology and technical expertise to overseas manufacturers of military and security equipment and are involved in the brokering and transportation of military and security equipment.”


          • michaelcoughlan

            Hello Ravished By the Sheer Implausibility of That Last Statement,

            Thank you for responding. I have no intention of patronising anybody. Do you think Al Qaeda give a shit about the Irish Constitution? I just read the article you mentioned. It has no relevance to Shannon Airport.

          • Deco

            Nobody is arguing in defense of the goings on in Shannon. And there are sites to discuss this. And yes, it is a very serious matter.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Deco

            People are free to discuss whatever they like, don’t mind your alternative sites. You cannot discuss things in isolation, all aspects of the political economy and the world economy are linked one way or another. Conflict, illegal wars, the arms trade all play a massive role, just like the prison-industrial complex, violent crime, divorce drive up GDP. To my mind, it is unwise to talk of the Chilean economy or any other economy without reference to historical antecdents and the reality on the ground for everyday working people, no point in having a ‘booming’ economy if poverty and inequality is also spiralling. That is the economics of the blind.

          • Deco

            Yes, you are free to talk endlessly about US Foreign Policy and so on.

            The next time I face an exam question, and I don’t have a clue of the answer, I will say that all things are interconnected, and write down a mountain of irrelevant minutae.

            Well, yes you can comment about Chile and mention the history. The historical context can be a big problem. And then there are instances when a people decide to get out a miserable historical context and build a future for themselves. It seems to me that the Chileans themselves have no intention of living in their own past. They are playing for the future.

            It also seems to me that you don’t want to leave 1970s Chile. You are choosing to live in the shadow of Pinochet when those that lived in it are trying to get away from it as fast as possible.

            You need Pinochet to live on. If he never existed, Marxism would need to have to have him invented.

    • Deco

      You don’t have to provide your talents to that US multinational if you don’t want to. I am sure there are people who would be delighted to have the opportunity.

      • Gege Le Beau

        2 for 1 special offer Deco or public auction as a means of entry?

        • Deco

          They have to motivate their staff internally, so let them decide how they wish to handle this matter.

          If Irish people are pulling “one-day-flu” sick days, then they should not expect to get away with it.

          • Gege Le Beau

            ‘Pour encourage les autres’ is it?

            I would hate to work in a place where basic rights and workers conditions are not met, sets a dangerous precedent, sick pay strikes me as a pretty basic right. I wonder do they allow Unions?

            Scratch the surface………………

          • Deco

            You don’t have to. You have the freedom to choose.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Deco – Yeah, the 460,000 unemployed (and rising) have real freedom. The electorate have real choice.

            We have the illusion of freedom and choice, the reality is very different.

    • rapier0954

      Well as a person of the so-called Diaspora I find it interesting that all of a sudden someone in Ireland wants to play on our so-called Irishness now that the country needs $$$. Over the years my parents and grandparents as well as other folks sent a lot of $$$ back to Ireland and were it not for that $$$ the people would have been much worse off. Then Ireland joined the EU and got access to easy $$$ and became the great Celtic Tiger and many of the people got increasingly more arrogant and started looking down their noses at the Irish abroad calling us Plastic Paddys and worse (just search Youtube if you want to read what some of the Irish think of us in the Diaspora) But things have come full circle and once again Ireland is going through tough times and all of a sudden we in the Diaspora are now somehow to be considered genuinely Irish and some local will even help us identify the plot our forefathers worked for a few Euros I’m sure and make us feel welcome. I hope we in the Diaspora are not gullible enough to fall for this BS and I hope not one red cent is spent by anyone in the so-called Diapora in a land full of such ingrates. And when it comes to American companies in Ireland, it appears that the people are not in the least bit grateful they are there so I hope they move out as well. Good riddances to you all.

  2. This was on of the reasons we set up a not for profit organisation called http://www.irishamerianstoryproject.com to get a collection of stories related the families of Irish people who emigrated and to collect thoese stories.

  3. Another great article and idea David. I have mooted this idea but under a different topic. You can see the idea “My Dream for Ireland” on http://www.emeraldquill.net We are also working on a community based social network forum that could work very well with your colleagues in Loughrea and country wide. email:- emerald.quill@gmail.com

    A Dream for Ireland

    I had a dream that the people of Ireland will be inspired to bid for and host The Olympic Games in 2024/28 so that we can celebrate our first century as a Nation and to set a marker and a standard for the next 100 years. The reasoning behind my dream is set out hereunder and I call on all Irish People wherever they may be to support my vision for a New Ireland.

    As John Fitzgerald Kennedy said:- The Problems of the World cannot possibly be solved by sceptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities.
    We need men who can dream of things that never were. John F. Kennedy

    From 2010 to 2025 we will have many commemorations about various landmarks in Irish History. We will have
    - Home Rule
    - The Easter Rising
    - War of Independence
    - The First Dail
    - Anglo / Irish Treaty
    - Civil War

    While it is wonderful and necessary to acknowledge all of these events and perhaps even more, that I have neglected to mention ( and I am not saying that they should not be acknowledged ) they will in reality stir up old sentiments of hatred, nationalism and collectively put our fragile peace agreement in jeopardy. As a Nation I believe we cannot afford to take that risk. We have had enough of bitterness born out of the last 850 years that would last us for hundreds of millennia.

    Now is the time to put the past behind us and to set new goals and standards for the Ireland of the future. We need to put aside “Gombeen Politics” and “Gombeen Politicians” and Hierarchical Institutions that no longer serve them not to mind the people of Ireland. It is time for the people to speak, to show leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit, that this country is abundant in but sadly lacking in our political leaders, church and financial institutions.

    We have had enough of marching, enough of “gobble-de-gook”, enough of pseudo banter and comedy between political parties playing at a system that is outdated, archaic and no longer serves the common good. It props up un-sustainable politics, playing games with peoples’ lives and livelihoods.

    Alot of money, time and effort will be spent over the next 15 years remembering these past events, one after another. The whole country will be caught up in one continuous pageant that will take the focus off our real problems and onto something that I feel could have severe negative consequences for our Nation if not handled properly and diplomatically. What is actually going to be achieved by all of this commemorating? I believe nothing of any value and only an increase in bitterness and division.

    Our Country is at a crossroads. It needs a new vision and purpose. Bailing out Zombie Banks and propping up dying or dead institutions is not what Ireland needs. Let’s get together and work together to deliver a New Ireland. I call on all likeminded people to stand up and be counted. To shake off the shackles of the past, to set ourselves worthy goals and a secure future based on thrust, respect and integrity for all. Let “Liberty Equality & Fraternity” be the sole basis of our New Republic

    I call upon you to turn the proposed celebrations planned for the next 15 years into one consolidated effort to bring The Olympic Games to Ireland in 2024 so that we can as a Nation show to the whole World that Ireland has come of age and has truly taken its place amongst the Nations of The World. That Ireland has come of Age, moved away from the past and closed the door on its old bitterness’s that has gnawed away at our true potential for generations.There is no going back, no bitterness, no recriminations, only peace and acceptance. What a gift to give to our children and to one another as we celebrate a century as a Nation. No other gift could be more worthy, more rewarding and more fulfilling.

    By making our pitch for The Olympics we will collectively be honouring all our past heroes / heroines and statesmen / stateswomen who made this country, this Nation a reality. We will also be honouring all our great athletes and sports men and women from all walks of life who have brought honour and glory to this wonderful Nation of ours. Finally we will be honouring every man, woman and child of this great Nation who have toiled endlessly for its success in whatever profession or trade they have worked in

    We can call upon the Irish Diaspora in the USA and across the World to join with us in the attainment of our goal. I call upon our inspirational leaders like Mary Davies ( Special Olympics ); Mary Robinson ( Former President of Ireland ); Mary McAleese ( President of Ireland); Fergus Finley; Ruari Quinn and others to join us in our quest for Olympic glory in 2024 and accomplishing “Our Dream for Ireland”


    Emerald Quill

    • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

      Your JFK quote actually ends with “and ask Why Not”. In this case I presume the reason why you omit this is because of the obviuos answer.

    • Deco

      All you need is other people’s money, other people’s sweat, other people’s time, and other people’s compliance.

      You need a dedicated taxpayer funded quango !

    • Gege Le Beau

      Hate to be raining on so many parades, but didn’t the Olympic games and the World Cup (media sporting events) end up costing the host countries more than they made? Given our crony track record on project overspend I suspect it could be the bullet that finishes us off.

      Just three months ago the spotlight was on South Africa, hosts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But now after the crowds and excitement have gone, the country is counting the cost of holding one of the world’s most prestigious competitions. Unable to fill the seats and pay the running costs, the purpose-built, state-of-the-art stadiums are now lying empty…

      John Pilger describes how the rich and powerful have taken over and distorted the people’s pleasure – sport, from Tiger Woods Inc to the World Cup, soon to begin in South Africa. Pilger looks at the way Fifa and multiple sponsors have invaded South Africa and ordinary South Africans have been pushed aside in the cause of profiteering.

  4. John Q. Public

    Don’t like the analogy with Israel David. The Israeli situation is completely different. Jews are allowed emigrate to Israel because they are Jewish, that’s all. It is based on religion, that’s the only qualification you need to live in Israel. In many cases (not sure what percentage) jews who emigrate to Israel have no ancestors there at all. That’s what annoys the arabs! Secondly there is an extremey powerful Jewish lobby in America that enables Israel to exist in the first place. ‘Can you imagine an Irish American getting an invitation to come back and see, not just Ireland, not just the county her great grandfather left, but the very fields that her ancestors farmed?’-would they even give a damn? This is all romantic nonsense. Americans want to sell stuff here or make it to export. Maybe we should take a long hard look at ourselves first. Take Dell for example, why did they leave? We charge too much in wages! Wake up David. The Poles alone send home 1 Billion Euro annually in a recession that could be kept here if our gang had the jobs. Maybe we should leave the EU and our fellow Europeans should leave us! We should clean up our mess first before we do anything.

    • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

      Just tell the Americans we have hydrocarbons but won’t sell it to them, they’re be here in a jiffy to liberate us.

    • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

      If our gang can’t compete with hard working people whose second language is English they probably don’t deserve employment.

    • Deco

      You know if the Poles were not sending home that 1 Billion Euro to their families in Poland every year, the Irish would be pissing it up against a wall.

      The Poles are not the problem. The problem is the Irish concept of lifestyle and the pointless waste. The Poles at least have respect for their time and the money it provides them with.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Israel is a surrogate State of the US, and military partner in the region and beyond. Its government frequently violates international law, carries out genocidal acts againts the Palestinian people and should never be cited as a viable socio-political example as long it continues to: use chemical weapons and cluster bombs indiscriminately and disporportionately against civilians and civilian targets such as hospitals and univeristies, continues its illegal seizure of land and construction of illegal settlements, the continued illegel construction of a massive wall (in violation of a World Court ruling) that snakes its way around the West Bank sealing off the best land and resources for the Israeli State. The activities of its government especially with the recent military incursions into the Gaza strip and brutal and illegal naval operation which resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians speak for themselves.

      End the blocakade of the Palestinian territories and let peace talks for a two state solution along the lines of the 1967 borders commence.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi Gege,

        I am going to challenge you again. You make no mention of the fact that self murderers (the guys who blow themselves and a bus load of Israeli civilians to pieces) are committing acts of genocide against Israelis civilians. Remember the Volunteers in the 1916 rising wore the uniform of the army of the Republic and targeted in the first instance the standing army of the British Government. It is true that Palestinian land is occupied but nobody is going to give a shit about them if they think that the evisceration of countless civilians going about their daily business is a way they are going to free their land. I can assure you Gege if the 1916 volunteers went to England and started slaughtering civilians all around them as a means to achieve an independent Republic there would be no Irish Republic we know and love.

        • Gege Le Beau

          Michael, Isreali actions, like those of the British paratroopers in Derry in 1971, have left some feeling they have no choice but to take up arms against one of the most powerfully equipped and trained armies in the world. The genocidal campaigns waged against the Palestinians over decades, was exemplified by the most recent military strikes on civilians and civilian buildings in the Gaza strip, where the use of chemical weapons (the banned white phosphorus for instance) and the unfolding humanitarian disaster where 4 million people are kept in ‘open prisons’ has been condemned in the strongest possible terms by the United Nations time and again. Our own Irishman on the scene in Gaza, John Ging (Head of UNRWA), has consistently condemned the actions of the Israeli government which have made life unbearable For Palestinian civilians. The disproportionate attacks and quite frankly, the slaughter, plus the land grads, the illegal settlements, the Israeli wall, the violation of international law by a State that should know better are acts which inflame the region and the world community.

          Are the violent acts of Hamas, Fatah and others to be condemned, of course, eye for an eye and the hold world goes blind. But the power to turn this entire situation around rests in Washington, Brussels and Tel Aviv not the villages and towns in the Palestinian territories.

          But the political will is not there, and why Michael? why?

          • michaelcoughlan


            If you post your e-mail address I could give you a privately held view. To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw I feel what is happening to the Palestinians is the “greatest of Evils and worst of Crimes” I also feel we all have failed as the Human race in allowing their plight to continue. I also feel what happened to the Jews was extremely heinous and simply could never be understated.

            I don’t think that the problem is going to be solved any time soon as the conflict is “only” 60 years old. I feel that the solution will have to be arrived at by the Israelis and Palestinians themselves rather than in the US or Europe and the road to a resolution to the conflict lies in both attempting to understand the suffering of the other because that is what they both have in tragically plentiful supply.

          • Gege Le Beau


            Further to an earlier point you made, as John Hume said years ago on a Luke Kelly documentary, “a cruel state often drives a moderate people to immoderate acts”.

            One should never conflate what is happening in Palestine with the Holocaust. It does a terrible disservice to both.

            As for the solution, the US is the puppet master, it controls the strings, it can call it overnight but refuses to do so.

    • DavidIreland


      ‘Can you imagine an Irish American getting an invitation to come back and see, not just Ireland, not just the county her great grandfather left, but the very fields that her ancestors farmed?’-would they even give a damn?

      I can absolutely imagine an American doing this.
      I can imagine myself doing it and I still live on the Island.

      Leave the EU, will you get real, have you seen the news recently, we can’t govern ourselves. We’d be back to the fifties and emigrating all over the place again.

  5. irishminx

    Good luck to all involved, great to hear your enthusiasm David. I salute you all.

  6. Deco

    Very best wishes to Mike Feerick and this team.

    No state quangoes. No Tammany Hall politicos to cut the tape. No consultants report. No media pundits on half a million a year milking it for what it’s worth. No ideological thought merchants chanting mantras. No bullshit.

    Just a collection of people trying to make a living in exchange for a service.

    However, I will say this. If the diaspora are to treat us seriously, we will have to ditch the dominant authority culture that is so good at controlling the options available to decent people as they try to build their lives. The Irish state needs to be cleaned out, reduced and made accountable to the citizen/taxpayer.

  7. David,
    this idea probably has legs,even after the demise of the ‘Tiger”.
    However,you need to be careful, that we,the Diaspora,are not percieved as being important,now that the economy is in dire straits.
    Could be percieved as forgetting about our relatives,until we need a few bob.
    The idea has a much greater potential than just digging Fianna fail out of a hole.A united block of Irish Celts,might help to stand up to EU heavyweights like Germany.
    In Canada,which was set up by the Irish and French,we even have 38% of francophones claiming Irish ancestry.
    In Newfoundland,the Irish accent is stronger than wexford.
    Canada is the closest country to Ireland,(excluding the EU.).Astonishingly,after banishment here in the 1980′s,we are unable to get a direct flight to Ireland for 7 months of the year. What does that mean?
    The catholic and Protestant soldiers of our forces here fought side by side in 2 world wars-
    never again to mention religion on their return.
    For sure,the diaspora has great resources to share
    with the homeland,but please tell me that the motives are not just economic.

    • el_gaucho

      The motives ARE just economic, which is why there is such a focus on the Irish American diaspora. Otherwise why not try to establish links with Irish descendants in other countries, like Argentina, where there are many (more than any other non English speaking country). Presumably because they are poor, so of no use in helping to solve the economic crisis.

      • I don’t want to speak for David, but this particular project looks like it will reach out to wherever Irish descendents happen to be. In fact the article indicates that rather than focussing on the Irish-American ‘market’ at all it will be all encompassing.

        If the Loughrea pilot project happens to track down family descendents in Argentina…

        • el_gaucho

          Yes, Dave mentions tracing “descendants worldwide” but it is fair to say the focus is heavily on Irish Americans. I don’t think he mentions any other nationality specifically.
          Anyway the main point of my reply to Mickheff’s
          “please tell me that the motives are not just economic”,
          was YES, the motives are just economic.

    • Hi Mike,

      I for one like the look of this initiative, it seems to understand the steps necessary to (re)establish a good relationship. The act of Ireland reaching out first and showing an interest in the lives of Irish and Irish descent abroad is something we havn’t seen too much of.

      Yes there appears to be an economic element, but if the intentions are honorable then any economic benefits would just be a natural outcome.

      David here was off-kilter a few years ago (i refer to the ‘tapping the diaspora’ theme), but the thinking seems to have evolved.

      One of the ways I look at this is related to today. People are again seeing members of their families leave and many will settle abroad. That means children and grandchildren are going to appear with American / English/ Australian / Canadian etc accents. Are we going to treat them the same as previous generations – quick media snapshots on St Pats day of green hats in New York, suspicion about motives, strangers to Ireland – or can and do we want to change that?

      If the relationship with the diaspora is put on a good footing it will transcend anything transient politicians can do.

      Local ordinary people reaching out sends a new message, that Ireland really is interested. If this project takes off, and keeps good principles and integrity at its core, we’ll be doing something from the bottom up that is hard to question.

      No cynicism here for this one. If that integrity is there, and i think/hope it is, i’d like to see it fly.

      • BrianC

        + 1 Says it all

        It is all about building a relationship. From a marketing perspective we had the computer age facilitating number crunching which morphed into the pc age realizing gateway digital technology for the individual creating the information age and now we are in the relationship era how to remain connected close involved with those you want to keep connected with for many reasons social economic etc. Personalized communications will revolutionize how we see the world and comprehend our part in it and far more relevant than homogeneous bland less relevant mass media communications.

        The idea is excellent and shows ingenuity and lateral thinking and deserves all the support it can get.

  8. Deco

    Ah yes….I remember the ditherer a man of ….’enormous vision’…….and CJH…everything had to be on a ‘grand scale’….and now we are at the end of a decade of obsession with our own significance…..looking at the bill…of our own arrogance…the price to be paid for determinedly ignoring any sense of humility.

    The great bold theorists of every age seem to capable of knowing every solution except the obvious ones…what was the Ancient Greeks said about the Essential Truth of Life ?

    A new batch of opportunists are ready to declare that stuff that has failed, will suceed if given another chance. A bit like the promises in the old DDR, and everybody looking at West German TV…

    • Deco

      The best solutions to the problems are always the simplest, the local, the humdrum, the ordinary.

      It is when we grasp this, that we will get a recovery.

  9. adamabyss


  10. michaelcoughlan


    I feel we will get our recovery going when we act by helping ourselves instead of waiting for the government to do something. McWilliams has pointed the way in the above article. I am glad to report that the small project management business I work for has just placed a project manager in Kuwait. We are hoping to continue this trend by placing more people abroad to generate a revenue stream from outside of Ireland so that we can secure our future into the face of the difficult conditions about to be visited upon us. It will also help Ireland’s balance of payments situation. I am currently lobbying friends who are working in the middle east and even as far as Australia for ways to heighten our profile for specific services which can be provided largely from an Irish base.
    I would love if the commentators on this blog could include good news stories from personal experiences in their working situations and if not working then their other activities. This would help to get a positive buzz going instead of the God awful negativity some of the comments have descended into. Remember change starts with the self.

    • Deco

      { I feel we will get our recovery going when we act by helping ourselves instead of waiting for the government to do something. }
      + 1
      You said it in one sentence.

    • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

      Would this somehow enlighten your rationale in defending the US millitary use of Shannon?

      • Deco

        I think it is not relevant here. It certainly matters on a blogsite for discussing Irish ‘nuetrality’ and US Foreign Policy.

      • michaelcoughlan


        Let me point to you the point I am actually trying to make regarding the fact that hundreds of thousands of US Troops are passing through Shannon Airport. There is nothing to suggest that the Irish nation is supporting one way or the other the military activities of ANY of the military personnel from foreign countries passing through Shannon by allowing them to use the airport. The evidence for support or lack thereof for their respective governments can be found in Government policy not in an inanimate infrastructural asset.

        • Gege Le Beau

          They government could have said no, we give corporate America its pound of flesh with the 12.5% rate. In any case it seems the US is going to be flying in and out of Germany from now on, so we can take our heads of the sand again along with our lovely euphemisms like ‘The Emergency’ and ‘The Troubles’. Shannon is probably costing the US a fortune knowing the mastery this State has for over-charging.

          When will we grow up?

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Gege,

            Why should the Government say no? Because a section of Irish society may be opposed to the US? I hope that they don’t fly in and out of Germany. If we can continue to refuel aircraft here we could continue to generate much needed inward revenue streams and make it a bit easier for a country that has the courage and fortitude to send its finest young men to challenge as perverse an ideology as that expounded by Al Qaeda.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Because Michael there are some who argue we are party to international war crimes.

          • Colin

            Hi Gege,

            Please tell us who these people are who could argue we are party to international war crimes? Do you mean
            1. Osama Bin Laden – Chief of Al Qaeda?
            2. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – President of Iran?
            3. Hassan Nasrallah – Leader of Hezbollah?
            4. Khaled Meshaal – Leader of Hamas?

            ….look, like me, David is neither a communist nor an Israeliphobe, so can you please consider this before you post?

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Michael

            There is more than oil there is a reported $1 trillion in natural resources in Afghanistan according to one US government report, with your ‘gold drive’, I am sure it is something even you can appreciate.

            “The results of the US geological survey released this week by American officials said Afghanistan had huge reserves of lithium, iron, copper, gold, niobium, mercury, cobalt and other minerals worth”

            And there are also the critical oil and gas pipelines that are to snake across the country, known as the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline, or TAP for short.

          • adamabyss

            What is the point of this video Gege? The man is obviously educated and knowledgeable about 1. The Holocaust (his family suffered) and 2. the disgraceful treatment of the Palestinians (who have their own extremist elements behaving abhorrently too) by Israel.

            He’s being heckled by a crowd of half-baked students most of who probably don’t know their own arse from their elbow. I don’t know who the man is, he could be the Anti-Christ for all I know but he’s wasting his time talking to that shower of Ivy-League brats (is Waterloo an Ivy-League university? Who cares?).

          • adamabyss

            What a mess this forum is. Utterly ludicrous layout!

        • Gege Le Beau

          @ Colin

          Professor Chomsky, the most widely cited modern scholar was unequivocal in an interview with Mark Little on Prime Time on the 19th of January 2006:

          “…..the invasion of another country is a supreme international crime which encompasses within it all the evil that follows……it (use of Shannon airport) is participation in a major crime.”

          In common crime, if a criminal breaks into your house, smashes the place, shoots the place up, kills half the family, kidnaps the male members and leaves the place a general wreck, if someone is found to have aided and abetted this criminal, is that person not also guilty of a crime?

          • michaelcoughlan

            Prof Chomsky’s view may be held genuinely but let’s see his evidence in writing well articulated rhetoric notwithstanding.

          • Colin

            My view is that the USA invading Iraq is not a criminal act. The Irish Government concur, so it is not aiding and abetting a criminal crime. The crime only exists in your head and your fellow travellers’ heads.

            Getting back to your analogy, the people in charge of that house that was broken into was murdering its own relatives (the Kurds and other dissidents to Saddam)living in that house, something you conveniently omit. That house was a house of horrors, whose victims deserve help from the outside world to remove the corrupted leaders of the house and to give the victims security and justice. I’m sure you’d agree with social services intervening in a domestic situation where abuse takes place? Or do you prefer to see those abuses continue and for the leader of the house to give the impression to his neighbours that he has developed weapons to destroy his neighbours’ houses?

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ Colin

            That comes as a major surprise.

            @ michaelcoughlan

            Hardly rhetoric, the crime of aggression (invasion of another country without legally justified cause i.e. in the intersts of self-defense etc), is the supreme international crime in customary international law. The killings of civilians, the use of chemical weapons, the abuse of prisoners, the systematic violation of human rights, are some of the evils that followed.

            Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General at the time said in September 2004 that: “From our point of view and the UN Charter point of view, it [the war in Iraq] was illegal. According to a detailed legal investigation conducted by an independent commission of inquiry set up by the government of the Netherlands headed by Netherlands Supreme Court judge Willibrord Davids, the 2003 invasion violated international law.

            In the UK, IN March 2003, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, then deputy legal adviser to the British Foreign Office, resigned in protest of Britain’s decision to invade without Security Council authorization. Wilmshurst also insinuated that the British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith also believed the war was illegal, but changed his opinion several weeks before the invasion.In November 2008, Lord Bingham of Cornhill, the former Lord Chief Justice and Senior Law Lord of the United Kingdom, stated that British Attorney General Lord Goldsmith’s advice to the British Government contained “no hard evidence” that Iraq had defied UN resolutions “in a manner justifying resort to force” and that the invasion was “a serious violation of international law and of the rule of law.”

          • michaelcoughlan

            Again Gege I must point out to you the fact that you make no mention of the fact that Iraq under Hussein engaged in never ending Invasions. Now that Iraq is administered by the US I would think that their invading days are over.

          • Colin


            Why don’t you answer my questions? Did you forget that Saddam had murdered thousands of his own people when you came up with the common crime analogy?

          • Gege Le Beau

            They are two entirely separate issues.

            But on Saddam, who was a brutal tyrant, he was supported by Western governments who did very well from doing business with him (he is not the only brutal dictator the West has turned a blind eye to when it suited them).

            Saddam’s invasion of Iran got full backing from the West, including up to the minute satellite imagery of Iranian military positions and unit despositions. The gas used against the Kurds in the infamous Halabja attack was obtained from foreign firms, one source indicates: “The know-how and material for developing chemical weapons were obtained by Saddam’s regime from foreign firms. The largest suppliers of precursors for chemical weapons production were in Singapore (4,515 tons), the Netherlands (4,261 tons), Egypt (2,400 tons), India (2,343 tons), and West Germany (1,027 tons)” while his torture chambers (Abu Ghraib was one such) became Western ones after the illegal invasion. We also know from Wikileaks that at minimum 110,000 civilians have been reportedly killed (the actual number is thought to be many times that).

            It was a standard Western smash and resource grab operation, as one commentator stated: ‘if Iraq’s principle export was asparaghus we would not be there’.

          • michaelcoughlan


            If the bag containing the asparagus was also full of explosives and strapped onto the back of a self murderer you can bet your ass they would be there. There is no oil in Afghanistan Gege.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ michael, see comment above on Afghan natural resources and Trans-Afghan pipeline. Best to be somewhat informed if you intend to be entertained.

          • Colin


            By your logic, Sweden should be prosecuted for war crimes after World War 2 for supplying Nazi Germany with Iron ore, which was processed in Germany to make tanks, aircrafts, machine guns and bullets and railway lines to transport the 6 Million Jews to their deaths in the network of concentration camps.

            Another thing, just because Saddam happened to be the lesser detested foe compared to the Ayatollah of Iran, doesn’t mean he gets immunity for whatever he does after that war with Iran had ended. Just because Saddam received American support in the 80s doesn’t mean he must always enjoy the support, as you seem to be demanding.

          • michaelcoughlan

            Hi Gege,

            Your post came after mine. My “gold drive” as you call it is a very feeble attempt to keep liquidity in a system that’s going to have in excess of 15bn euro taken out of it over the next four years. Since the gold will be private property instead of the government owned fiat money at least some of the citizens of Ireland will be able to purchase the goods and services needed to keep their families from poverty. You hardly could still argue for government control of anything in this country considering the total and utter mess this one has made of our republic? Spare me the shit about Fianna Fail or the PD’s. Fine Gael were in Power in the 80’s when the GDP debt ratio was worse than it is now and as for Labour not a single alternative credible policy put forward to the people to vote for.
            As for Afghanistan would you prefer the Taliban to control those raw materials you are referring to? Because unless western countries add value to them all they are is so much shit buried in the ground.

          • adamabyss

            We are living in the real world here Gege – not some utopia where once you commit your support to someone (or some state), you are already 100% sure that they are of decent character and won’t shaft you and their neighbours when they become too powerful for their own good.

            Saddam Hussein and his like would sell their own grandmothers if they thought it was in their own interests and they have changed sides more often than they have change their own underpants pursuing their megalomania.

            You can’t keep going on for decades and decades about how America armed Iraq therefore America is to blame. America armed the UK too and do you see the Brits gassing Northern Ireland?

            Multinational companies (and nations) sell all sorts of horrific products to one another, each and every day but no one instructed Hussein to bundle them up and drop them as gas bombs on his own (Kurdish) citizens.

            The Yanks made a judgement call – Hussein or the Iranians and who is to know how it would have turned out if they had backed the Ayatollahs instead?

            No one is disputing that the Yanks have their own agendas — far from it. But wouldn’t you rather have them in charge of the world’s oil supplies than the crazy Mullahs or the Baath party? See if you could crank up your fridge then, never mind your laptop.

            Sometimes it REALLY IS a choice of the lesser of two evils. This is not a perfect world and people make mistakes and change their minds and sell out their friends and kill their enemies. At least we have the freedom to talk about it on here, and in the Evil Empire of America. Try doing that under Saddam Hussein — there’s even more press freedom in Iran today (and a broader spectrum of expressed opinions) than there ever was under the Baath lunatic.

            And don’t make me laugh about the American turning Abu Ghraab (sic?) into a torture chamber. Again, I’m not denying that they did wrong there (and elsewhere) but to equate it with what the Baathists did — well you are being disingenuous at best. The Americans won’t be locking anyone up in a dark room for TEN YEARS until the person goes insane — like Saddam did to many (for instance — I won’t even describe any of his more terrible tortures here — I don’t believe in that sort of propagation).

            Yes I know ‘we’ are in the Middle East for resources — I’ve always known that — who doesn’t? But if the extremists cared anything about their own country and people then they would know that the Yanks would pay for all that oil (or pay something for it) and their own country could also be rebuilt. But they don’t care, they are lunatics and while there are plenty of lunatics on this side too, their influence is tempered by a more structured society, law and order and better education, moral values, freedom of expression, better treatment of women and opportunities for all.

            By the way, I’m not referring to the current woes of capitalism, neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism — whatever you want to call it — that is a whole other topic which has been well covered on this site. We know it’s rotten to the core and that we surely need a better and more equitable system in this part of the world too, but we do not need what the Islamic extremists are trying to foist upon the world.

          • Gege Le Beau

            @ colin

            of course, anyone involved in crimes of that nature (Nazi Germany) should be pursued, anyone who benefitted materially or financially from the suffering of others should be pursued, just like those who suffered in the Holocaust as pursing banks and governments for their money and stolen art works. I think this to be right and just.

            And I am not an Israelphobe, I do however have a problem with Israeli government policies which I spelled out, so I resent your attempts to smear me with that tag (not the first time).

            Norman Finklestein hammers the point home better than me though

            @ adamabyss, I don’t buy the lesser of two evils argument, we should apply international law to others as we would like it applied to ourselves. I am well aware the world is no utopia, but instead we should at the very least try to put the world on a more appropriate moral and legal footing, and international law is a useful tool in this regard, it works very well in a whole range of areas so why not in the field of human conflict? Are we incapable of legislating against war and brutal acts of violence? If not then I think we do have a problem. Governments, corporations just like individuals should be held to account for their actions and there have been some notable successes (and setbacks) in this regard.

            It is precisely because we enjoy more liberties and freedoms that we have an even greater obligation to uphold them and not stoop to the level of tin hat dictators and other brutes. This applies to countries across the Western world, including Eire.

          • adamabyss

            I agree with you Gege about international law, and we should keep working towards that and regulating ourselves as well as others, and improving the laws all the time etc. but unfortunately the likes of Saddam don’t care about international law especially when they take it upon themselves to gas their own citizens or invade neighbouring countries. Sometimes swift action has to be taken and that’s what happened. It may not have been for all the right reasons and have been processed in the correct way but hopefully we can learn from the mistakes, legislate for them and things get slowly better. That’s the dream anyway.

          • Colin


            For someone who claims not to be an Israeliphobe, you have an awful habit of focusing in on every single action they take. Why not focus on some of the other countries with far greater human rights violations like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Cuba, North Korea, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc…. you see, and when I see you being even handed with Israel’s policies compared to those other countries listed above, then and only then will I take your statement about not being an Israeliphobe seriously.

            Now, back to Sweden, answer the question and avoid the fudge, should war crimes now proceed against Sweden for supplying Nazi Germany with Iron Ore during the war, followed by sanctions? Same goes for Switzerland, for all their financial cooperation they provided Nazi Germany, should we have war crimes investigating Switzerland and setup sanctions against Switzerland for facilitating Nazi Germany? Who else……..What about Finland, did they trade one red cent with Nazi Germany? What about Mexico, any tropical fruit reach the battle lines sustaining the soldiers of Nazi Germany?

    • johntrenchard

      “I would love if the commentators on this blog could include good news stories from personal experiences in their working situations and if not working then their other activities”

      I work in the I.T. industry in Britain and I was laid off a few years ago because of the Lehman Brothers collapse. It was a permanent, salaried position.

      Because of the lay off I decided to not look for other permanent positions – instead I moved into the short term contract market, and I honestly have never looked back – my annual salary has doubled , my tax rate has declined , and I have worked in an incredible number of positions over the past two years and also vastly expanded my network of business contacts.

      The recession has perversely been enormously beneficial to the likes of me because large corporates are afraid to take on anyone in a permanent position – therefore to pick up the slack in their projects, they are hiring contractors in short 1 month to 3 month contracts. So, yes, this is a good news story and I quite honestly cannot believe my luck – the amount of contract positions I have been in have been so numerous that I haven’t taken a holiday in the past two years – i have been THAT busy with work.

      • michaelcoughlan

        Excellent, excellent, excellent! I am delighted that someone has responded positively. Change starts from the bottom swells up and eventually those in power listen.

        Anyone else out there ready to throw off the shackles of negativity and pessimism? Hear is another good news story. My wife and I have just found out we are to be the parents of TWINS. Woo Who! Stop criticising and start acting.

        Don’t wait for or try to influence the gobshites in the Dail. Personal Leadership is what is required. I guarantee you if you only take one positive step in any direction you will inspire countless others to follow. Supervision is not what is required leadership is. Start with yourself.

        • Julia

          Hi Michael, congratulations to both you and your wife. I hope she’s well and without too much morning sickness. Best of luck to you both.
          Congratulations to you too Johntrenchard. Just remember to put some of your profits in the rainy day jar and you’ll be fine.

  11. Peter Atkinson

    Lads,lads, I’ve had enough of the negative shit.Its easy to shit behind the screen and write epitaph after epitaph.Diaspora, fine idea but what about the likes of myself who stayed during the champaigne Charlie years.All I kept hearing is “ah sure Mary and Pat are livining in Queens and he’s got his own building company blah blah blah”.Thats all Paddys can do.No matter where they land they end up in the construction industry.If the truth be known they caused the bleedin world wide recession.The Diaspora would do better than come back here for another good kickin.

    Whatever is going to happen rebuilding will happen from within.Instead of leaving your savings in the local piggybank getting a paltry 3.25% over two years why not invest it in small indigenous companies and watch them grow.Most are hard working small family businesses with a will to work hard and survive and who knows all you so called poor working or unemployed classes might become real wealth capitalists into the bargain.From little acorns grow large oak trees.

    I say and say it again, those you can do those who cant teach.Our government is full of cants.Draw your own conclusions from that.By the way David, I just realised you are hosting a course on Economics.Please don’t take offence to the above comment.We need a few whistle blowers too.

    • Colin

      Hi Peter,

      Ireland has and continues to produce great civil engineers, carpenters etc….Many people in countries like USA, UK, Canada etc… are not attracted to work in the construction industry for various reasons, meaning the Irish have a large slice of the pie in these countries. Foreigners know that Paddy will do an honest days work when he’s abroad. Don’t mind stories about Pat in Queens, thats just Pat’s family trying a bit of oneupmanship, let it in one ear and out the other, pay no attention to it.

      I’m unconvinced about tapping the diaspora. They’re not as stupid as some natives here think they are. Many Irish I knew in London say the best of the Irish had to emigrate (I’m inclined to agree with them now), and that the shysters/arse-lickers/cronies were the ones who didn’t have to emigrate. Why should these people who were thrown out of the country to fend for themselves come back to support the same gombeens who wanted to see the back of them. This is where the Jews are different. They always supported each other, they shared in eachother’s successes, and have a welcome for anyone who decides to return to the Jewish homeland, without trying to fleece them at the same time. Now, look at Drumm, Seanie, Fingers et al

  12. DavidIreland

    This is a fantastic idea. I love it.

  13. DarraghD

    David I have to say your article last Sunday was an excellent analysis of where we are at, probably slightly under representatvive of the level of desparation out there with respect to your friend, who is on the dole like myself, but however I reckon it was an excellent analysis of the place where we now find ourselves…

    But we are back to the “diaspora” again, and I’m despairing and a bit annoyed because I just keep seeing this commonality here between your own analysis and the government analysis, which is that all the answers to our woes are somehow on some other continent, the government say we must invest in FDI and you say we have to get this dispora behind us…

    Let me very very quickly tell you my story… I had a small business, (a very small business), that failed back in May 2008. It wasn’t related to property at all, just a small local services (independent garage), business that was trying to start up in a recession, (although nobody knew there was a recession at the time)!

    Since I had to close, I’ve been through homelessness and extreme poverty. When I was told after twelve months of that sh*t, I could actually get the dole, I felt like I’d won the Lotto…

    So after months 3 on the dole, I went down to the Labour, I’d a new small business plan, I was told come back after 12 months, because they don’t talk to anyone who wants to start a business until they have been 12 months on the dole, (They call it the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme).

    So guess what, fast forward almost a year, I’m now into my last month on the dole, and now, and only now, I’m entitled to some small assistance ,(and it’s all I needed 6 months ago!), to take myself off the dole!

    But the government said I can stay on the dole now and claim 100% of my entitlements for the next 12 months and 75% of my entitlements for months 12-24, even though I was banging their fu*cking door down after months 2, 3, 6 and 8, asking them could they give me 1K to start up my own business…

    Every month that I signed on for the last year, I hoped I would see some sign or notice for a scheme where I could sign off, get a bit of seed capital and get the f*ck off the dole, which I’d never been on in my life, but no, Grainne Eire said I had to be living 12 months in f*cking penury before I could take a shot at self existance again…

    My story probably sounds like it is made up but now I’ve a small business just launched, seed capital has been provided by a friend, and when I start making a few quid, I’m going to get the fu*ck off this backward dysfunctional f*cked up island, and I’m going to take every cent that I can off with me….

    Forget about your dispora, if I was abroad, and had the chance to come back here and invest, why would any self respecting Irish person invest their money in such a f*cked up mess of an island???

    Funny how the “markets”, seem to be saying a lot, but the only words that they seem unable to mutter is, “lads, take the Croke Park Agreement and lash it in the bin and start creating indiginous jobs for yourselves again”… The same markets that have their elbows on our shoulders and are now leaning into us, saying, “not a day beyond 2014″, where were these learned folks when our government were urinating our money all over the place and driving up a deficit to 14%??????????????

    Anyway, speaking for myself, it’s game over for this place, thank Christ I’ve the idea and the drive to get out of here, any self respecting man or woman who say they are an Irish person, has a lot to answer for if they plough a cent back into this sh*thole, based on nothing other than what I’ve been thus far within the last 12 months…

    • Wow way to go Dara. +1

      I love your anger and I know exactly where you are coming from.

      I read the article yesterday and did not know what to make of it at all. At first I thought it was naive and load of pish and still do. I was going to suspend commenting until the next article because I was so taken aback with the sudden diversion from the subject of cracking up to online ventures. In fact I felt insulted.

      (comment permanantly awaiting moderation I bet).

      Then the happy puppies who spend too much time tweeting and wasting their time on facebook come on with their tongues hanging out hoping for a clap. Why are they not talking about the BIN ANIB idea? For god sake it was only yesterday and we are now one day closer to the edge of the cliff !!!

      Then it descends into an argument about Israel and Shannon airport which incidentally has nothing at all to do with the subject of the article. There are plenty of sites where people can vent their frustrations on that topic. We need to sort out our own crisis before we can start giving advice to the Israelis and the Palestinians. Of course we would always shift a few tons of Irish concrete to them to built the walls of hate :-) No doubt the stupid fuckers down at the local chamber of commerce meeting would clap and say fair play to your man

      This business about getting off the dole and into business highlights just how fucked up this place is.
      There is way too much risk involved in taking the jump and so I take my hat off to you for taking the bull by the horns. If people go on the Back to Work scheme and the business fails then they run the risk of becoming destitute.

      Like you I know what it is like to be desperate and in queer street regarding having a roof over my head. Many of the people who are moaning these days would not know a hard time it came up and batted them on the mouth.

      I hope you succeed and get out because I would do the same if I still had the drive. After years of listening to this lot I feel that I have had the life blood sucked out of me.

      As for the diaspora no one here gave a shit about us. Our families left and saved this lot from the forces of darkness during two worlds wars. They sent home billions to keep the turf fires burning and many of them ended up old, alone and broken in the inner city high rises of shithole British cities.

      If it was not for British Prods and the Irish catholic diaspora standing side by side when hell broke loose this lot would now be walking around in jackboots and donning Willie O’dea mouthstaches.

      They had their chance and they blew it and now they expect other people to throw them a lifeline. Not bloody likely I say. Any sane person knows that there is no point in throwing good money after bad.

      Best of luck Darragh and I hope it goes well for you. I really mean it.

      Good luck to us all

  14. Philip

    We do not need the diaspora. We already have it in bucket loads. It is called the anglophile world. And guess what, it is that world that is damaged profoundly and shows no signs of recovering.

    The world of commerce and western style economics based on the english language with pseudo WASP/Christian values is in the main banjaxed. We’ve sweated out these ideas in many previous articles. Exactly what new values is a bust economy originated organisation really going to change anything here on the ground?

    We as a nation are lazy thinkers. Our emigration patterns follow the language and where the rest of us went. We are economic lemmings.

    Now, we are all getting a tad anti-european of late, myself included, because of loss of sovereignty etc. We have found that people just do not automatically “like” us anymore. I believe we should thank the Germans and the French for their much needed abrupt wakeup call.

    Guys, there is a new world out there. It is called the internet. We should not just be looking to the west. The East is on our doorstep. We should be looking to IMPORT germans, freench, swedes etc. Not the now defunct world of the anglophile. I like to hear of people who are chasing business in the middle east and in Europe. Clearly these people like themselves enough to present a good business case to anyone. Might I suggest we look at these outward looking self respecting individuals rather than run to mama for our blankie!!

  15. Philip

    Here’s an idea on reverse diaspora thinking. We have shedload of Poles and eastern european types in this country. We should be going to Poland etc to root in some bilateral business. We should have a enconomic favoured arrangement between the two countries that recognises a certain common way of looking at life. Maybe it is down to Catholiscism – I dunno. But commonality does exist. These guys are getting strong in European markets east and west. We should be leveraging that fact and our selling proposition is our stong link to the anglophilic world. It would be a temoporary initial tactic to get Ireland think more to the east.

    We need Russians, Poles etc for their brains and the example of the work ethic. Maybe some of our graft might help them.

    We have to learn to plough new furrows.

    • johntrenchard

      That is indeed an interesting angle. On Newstalk (i think) a few weeks ago they were interviewing Irish folks who had settled in Slovakia of all places – and there was one chap who had even set up a hurley manfacturing business because Slovakia has rather a lot of ash trees – and he was exporting cheap hurleys BACK to Ireland!

      We need to look East a lot more, rather than our traditional Westward look to America. Our future is indeed tied up with our new friends in Poland, Estonia, Slovakia and possibly maybe even Russia.

      • mishco

        Some people have been looking further east than that. I was talking to a guy the other day here in Korea and he mentioned he was going to Ireland in a couple of months on business. As he sells farm machinery I assumed he was going to sell more of his country’s world-beating products to us. Then he took me over and showed me two of the hay-baling machines he was selling here. One was made in Ballinasloe, the other in Bagnelstown.

        I have more hope in the companies that made these machines than I do in the idea of inviting Irish people back just because they have Irish roots. I’m sure most of the diaspora, from the American President down, have lots of other nationalities’ roots for good measure, but they are always proud of their Irish roots as these are seen to be friendly, good-humored and harmless.

        As people have said, the main reason for this diaspora idea seems to be economic. I fear you’ll get more freeloaders than sugar daddies coming back on a scheme like this, brave though it is.

        But the owners of those two companies in Galway and Carlow are doing the real work that will get us out of recession, and more power to them.

  16. Morning,

    Thanks for all the comments.

    For those that might be sceptical, I would like you to step back and see what is being tried here. It is a local initiative which has global reach. Social networking allows us to do it and, if we can make it work, with the efforts of willing and enthusiastic local people, it can be a significant positive which will remain irrespective of the economic cycle.

    It is not about US foreign policy – this is about Irish foreign policy, but not the narrow policy of the Irish State, but a broad, generous foreign policy for the Irish people. I accept it is not a panacea, but it is possibly the beginng of something special.

    Best David

    • And Gerry Kennelly is doing the same thing down in Kerry. Local people getting on with what they know best.
      Now if we could save the couple of hundred million Harney will squander by siting the childrens hospital in Dublin and reinvest it in local initiatives like the galway project, wouldn’t that make more sense.
      See ye all in Kilkenny.

  17. Philip

    David, your idea of bottom up networking will have best results if done strictly without agenda. A genuine welcome which is openhearted and spontaneous certainly can yield positive results. Of if you need agenda, it should merely be on the basis of strengthening links for the sake of it and hopefully not loosing touch.

    But we need to be beware of anglospheric group think. Is this reslly doing anything to spawn genuine breakthrough ideas we desperately need. The majority of our diaspora links are to the US. We need to build to the east rather than slavishly look to the west.

  18. Reality Check

    Deco, spot on as usual, Are you going to the Kilkenomics festival?

  19. Tull McAdoo

    I flew into Frankfurt early on Tuesday morning, which happens a few times a year and the thing that always strikes me as I travel from the Airport to my Hotel is how busy the place is. I know David has mentioned this in previous articles but it is only when you see it for yourselves at first hand do you realise that these Germans really mean Business. The amount of Trucks and heavy goods vehicles on the move on the main roads is a sight to behold.
    The Germans have no plans to cut levels of pay down to Latvian rates, no talk here of putting the boot into their old age pensioners who they happen to respect here and thank for all their help in rebuilding the Country. No talk of emigration here in Frankfurt, as Germany does not produce Economic migrants to be scattered all over the globe. Nuff said.

    I deal with the markets here on behalf of people down in Australia. I am a member of the Diaspora. So in that context let me spell this thing out as straight as I can, either myself, or the people I represent, or the market i.e. bond investors etc. have the slightest interest in investing money in Ireland to prop up that corrupt regime that Fianna Fail represents. I say that now on this forum but people who follow the market for bond purchases etc. will be all to familiar with the clear message that the NTMA has been given to bring back to their paymasters in Fianna Fail.
    I feel that if I put money into Ireland at the moment, then I will become part of the problem.
    The markets are simply saying to Fianna Fail and their cohorts that they can try and hide behind taxpayers, old age pensioners, social welfare recipients, they can even try and hide behind some manufactured cosy arrangement with the opposition parties, but they will be forced to recognise their losses from their property porn and other corrupt practices. The markets will starve them out. Linehans announcement of 15 billion in cuts yesterday just sent bond rates higher. Sorry Brian’s no sale here for yer old wares. For God sake will ye just GO and let the process of renewal begin.

    • Gege Le Beau

      German observations most appropriate, might have been useful if we had been a little closer to Berlin than Boston.

      Germany is emerging as the economic and political powerhouse, German-Russian relations in the coming years will be interesting as Germany seeks to extend its influence into the East and down into the Balkans.

      Merkel is currently using some of the power to remove voting rights from EU member states who violate EU financial and political regulations.

      Ireland had one of the most envious of all situations, ties with the US for historical, political and economic reasons, and yet inside the EU camp, for us to be in the position we are in is even more incredulous.

    • Telling it how it is Tull.
      When are you going to pop over across the Mountain to me?

  20. Tull McAdoo

    The end of October, which usually brings in the taxes from the self-employed etc. in Ireland will be a huge eye opener this time around. The 31st of October 2010 will be a major watershed in Irish politics. It will be the day that Business in Ireland VOTE WITH THEIR POCKETS. I have spoken to people in Ireland over the course of the last few evenings and the feedback I am getting is that returns will be down, down, down.
    I cannot blame Small Business in particular because they are faced with a dilemma. If they give up their cash now to the Fianna Fail regime, then they could run into cash flow problems at some point in the next while and they cannot be sure that the busted banks are going to be able to draw their snouts away from their ailing balance sheets long enough to provide them with a line of credit. My hunch is that Business will hold back on returns, Fianna Fail will be faced with a bigger deficit, more desperate measures, and so the downward deflationary spiral continues.
    I know I have mentioned this before but FF will continue to fly in a downward deflationary spiral, just like the pelican who flew in ever decreasing circles until it finally flew up it’s own arse.
    “ What a wonderful bird is the pelican,
    It’s beak can hold more than it’s belly can,
    It holds as much in its beak the can last him a week,
    I wonder how the hell-it-can”.

  21. DarraghD

    I just don’t get this whole disapora thing at all, this morning’s Indo tells us about 3,000 returning Irish who are suffering extreme hardship because they have been refused the dole…


    What is different between those living overseas, be they of Irish descent or any other, that makes them more able or capable entrepreneurs than us that are already living here???

    Let’s put that little question aside for a minute and ask our selves another question. The lack of cash out there is very scary, there is no point in starting up new businesses, regardless of who will be doing the heavy lifting of entrepreneurship, until such a time as we start asking ourselves howcome everyone seems to be stone broke, and I don’t buy this argument that everyone is squirelling it away under the matress for a rainy day, nobody I know seems to have a penny to spend at the end of the week, it is a game of survivial now, and these are people who are working! And by the looks of things, it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse very shortly.

    This diaspora argument seems to get wheeled out regularly enough and I don’t for the life of me get it, we have half a million people queuing up for social welfare every week and I’m one of them, how many of those half a million people have taken the jump and ran businesses in the past??? How many of those could start up a business in the morning if we established a small bit of economic normality here and people had some cash???

    The same attitude seems to be the norm from the government, throwing money at FDI and importing entrepreneurship, then we all fall out of our chairs when Dell and a whole community of other AMC’s heads off to Poland or whereever…

    You said it yourself before David, the recovery will be local and it will be small, it will be a coffee shop here and a butcher there, we don’t seem to want to do local or small in this country, everything has to be big, bling, deep pockets, loads of talking sh*te about it to everyone, a BMW before you even pay yourself a wage, etc…

    • Gege Le Beau

      @ Darragh D – Very perceptive post. And I agree with David McWilliams assessment of the need to stimulate the local environment, there is an aspect of self-sufficiency to it which is useful, less dependent on the vagaries of the market to some degree while still attempting to play a role in the world. I think the cultural aspect of Ireland can be developed and we can reduce costs and market ourselves, then it may also assist the economy, but it is still way to expensive to visit.

      Your article on the actual treatment of the diaspora is very revealing and speaks volumes of government policy. Maybe a portion of Ahern’s pension could be put aside for those who heard the siren calls of the Paper Tiger, that would be an act of atonement (more than cheap words) which might replenish the crest fallen breasts of our diaspora.

      • I’ve just started the coffee shop and it’s tipping away nicely. There’ll be no merc out of it but it will give me a steady pension when I start dribbling into the porridge.
        I didn’t ask for help and the proceeds go into a PO a\c.
        Simple out and my fridge is full.
        Go anywhere near that bunch of shysters we have, the bureaus, and they’d finish you off faster than a bullock eating a Full Irish.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Hi Furrylugs,

          See my post below. I will visit your coffee shop and pay you twice the value of my purchases in Gold bullion if you set up an account to receive payment in gold which can be readily redeemable in any of the world’s currencies. Where is you shop by the way? If I only achieve one thing from this web site and that is a bullion based exchange by even only the members of this site then in my own eyes my participation will have been worth it.

  22. johntrenchard

    May I offer a simple and practical idea to really kick off this “diaspora” idea. And it doesnt involve websites and other fancy technology – it’s a very very simple idea..

    Have the GAA broadcast their games free to air worldwide.

    As a member of the diaspora living in England for the past 10 years, the only place where I can see an all Ireland hurling final is via a Setanta feed in my local Irish club. Therefore the fastest field game on the planet is only known to folks of Irish descent – the rest of the world barely knows about it , if at all.

    We have a huge resource in terms of the GAA – and we should be promoting it like crazy.

    End the Setanta exclusiveness and offer GAA games to broadcasters worldwide for free.

  23. petercice

    if we want to rebuild this country i think 2 things have to happen
    firstly we need to cut from the top down that is any cuts in government spending must be taken by the top side of the civil service who are making just crazy money and most of this is placed into there long term investments such as huge pensions and not spent into the real economy like the lower paid and unemployed.
    secondly we need to build from the bottom up that is starting with the unemployed and looking at people that are not working and have business ideas that they want to work on.
    we have to some how help fund these ideas to get them back into the working life of the country either through governement garantee schemes on financing that is taken out or through funding for there basic needs while they are getting there business off the ground, on this point i think a duel approach would be the best way as it may give them the opertuntiy to develop there ideas at a much faster and larger scale than the possibly could.
    in my view it dosent matter what the idea is once they are looking to create work and in return this gives much needed spending into the econmomy as a whole.
    in relation to the diaspora of coarse we would be foolish not to tap into this huge network of people but it can only happen if we give the people of the country the start that they need to move forwards as well as believing in them.
    there is nothing more important to a person that is starting a business that people actually believe in what they are doing

  24. Philip

    Look at it from a value chain perspective. Ideas,raw materials, Sales, MArketing, Logistics, support etc…and cash to grease the wheels. Question is how to leverage the diaspora to get that value chain working.

    We are out of cash. So maybe a foreign donor with close links?

    The paddies are great on ideas. We just need to make sure the remaining part of the value chain stays outside the clutches of the local gombeens. And the Diaspora may play a role here as well.

  25. DarraghD

    Diaspora or no disapora, the hardest thing to do at the moment in relation to starting up a business in this place is overcoming the sheer pyschological terror that is out there in relation to the economy, it’s like being on a sinking ship that everyone else is scrambling to get off, but you have taken it upon yourself to take a bit of an auld wander back down to the engine room as the ship starts slipping below the waterline.

    David you should think about hosting or organising a small business start up forum, something along the lines of the BNI (Business Network International), where folks who want to start up can get into the same room once or twice a week and support each other and can share ideas, generate sales leads, and most importantly, keep positive!

    • petercice

      Hi Darragh i think what you are saying is a great idea especially if people like david would be willing to get involved and maybe advise on the pit falls ect and give there taughts on ideas that are braught up

  26. StephenKenny

    Some off-topic interesting links for the day:


    If I didn’t know better, and I’m not at all sure I do, I’d think that there was something very weird going on.

    • michaelcoughlan


      The only way you can protect yourself if what is in this article is true is to asset your patriotism NOT with a rifle but by your personal action. The MOST Patriotic action you can take is to start trading and settling your accounts in Gold through a website like http://www.Goldmoney.com where debts can be settled in Bullion. Why so? The pathological/sociopathic personalities in charge of the banks can only control the world through the control of Fiat money because the simply print more to devalue it and your assets when the need arises. They simply can’t do this with Gold. True American patriots have a silver dollar in circulation which various companies and individuals use as their currency rather than the greenback. If you don’t believe that any number of currencies can circulate simultaneously then look what has been organised for kilkenomics? A local currency redeemable for the life of the festival only. Come on David I will go to your shows in Kilkenny to get the ball rolling and pay you TWICE the value of the ticket in BULLION if you help to save Ireland from the vista about to be unleashed on us from International banks. Start the ball rolling and allow your creditors and fans to pay you in Bullion and fuck the Establishment. Our lives may literally depend on it. You said it yourself; Spain in the 16th century had to fight all sorts of wars to solve the collapse of its credit bubble. Do you think Cheney, Rumsfeld etc. will not consider engaging in never ending war if it suits them to solve the treasonous acts of the US financial establishment?

      • adamabyss


        First of all congratulations on the twins – chuffed for you. And I mean that.

        Second of all, I’ve had a GoldMoney account for years as I’ve already mentioned to you, plus hundreds of e-gold accounts and various others – it all stems from the industry (Internet Gaming) that I spent years working in. They are very convenient and useful but not for day to day stuff and the charges to redeem can be quite high and the processes laborious.

        But the main drawback is that they can DISAPPEAR OVERNIGHT and some of the lesser known ones frequently have. You are only taking their word on whether they actually have the real gold to back up your ‘deposit’, and you have no comeback when you wake up one morning and they are gone. In essence they are little different than paper money except trickier to use and they don’t have a country (as corrupt as it is) and a regional federation (the EU) backing them up.

        So good luck with it but you should know the risks. I’ve seen people lose tens of thousands in these currencies with my own eyes. Yes GoldMoney has been around for years but that is no guarantee that it will still be here tomorrow.

        Personally, I think putting money in the post office and credit unions is a start (but not the final step) – anything to keep it away from the parasitic banks in this country. RaboBank online seems like another good option but I haven’t got around to it as yet, besides I’m a poor student for the next three years.


        • michaelcoughlan

          Thanks Adam,

          Perhaps I should consider gold certificates directly. I just can’t make the point strenuously enough that the financial system in the US is going to melt down with a possible break up of that country. I know that sounds nuts but I genuinely feel that’s where it is going.

          If you spent years working in the gaming industry I presume you are a mature student of what discipline pray tell? If we can’t use gold as a medium of exchange then we may sooner or later arrive at the bartering stage. Considering your advice I would only lodge enough to Gold money to pay my debts and keep the rest in Norwegian, Canadian or Australian Dollars. The gold is readily saleable anyway.

          The state is fucked financially so the post office option for me is a no go. I have very little money anyway but I just can’t stress enough the point that the world’s financial system hasn’t even got anywhere near the bottom despite all the rubbish being talked about.

          • adamabyss


            I fully agree with you in regards to the financial system being knackered as I’m sure many of the contributors on here do. My estranged wife and child live in the States so I keep a very close eye on what goes on there (and herself works for CitiGroup too!) and I fully agree that America could collapse but they won’t go down without a fight and that includes using nukes, although the timescale on it could be 50-100 years from now, as opposed to tomorrow. I actually think we are safer here in Europe for the moment, thats why I was trying to get my family over here but she didn’t fancy it. I don’t think the post office and credit unions are going to go under but I take your point. I have very little money myself at the moment but am unconcerned. I will be able to get through the next three years of study (studying Business & Management at Maynooth) and after that I have full confidence in my earning abilties which will be focused towards myself and my daughter. I worked in Internet Gaming in the Caribbean – here’s a link about the main project that I was Local Operations Manager on – http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.09/stock.html – this article is very sensationalised but the bare facts aren’t far off. With my limited funds at present I’ve no option but to stick to Euro cash but if something more credible came up I would switch without hesitation; however given my employment background I just don’t trust any online currencies enough – yet.


      • Deco

        Michael – congratulations! check patrickholford.com concerning nutrition, and good health.

        • michaelcoughlan

          Thanks Deco.

          Although I need Holford’s advice more for his weight loss guidance than his nutritional guidance.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Sincere congratulations Michael.

            Cuba is a great place for a holiday if you need to get away from it all (check out the stunning town of Trinidad on the coast), not sure about North Korea though :-)

          • michaelcoughlan


            Thanks Gege. If I went on holidays to Cuba I would be half afraid to tip the locals in case someone accused me of trying to corrupt them. My brother a proclaimed leftie was in both Cuba and North Korea and guess where he chooses to make a living Gege? The UK. I suppose a bit like Karl Marx himself.

            warm regards,


      • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

        Is gold just another bubble?

        • michaelcoughlan


          This is a very important question with a lot of merit. Gold can have a bubble like any asset. People are buying it now to protect themselves against inflation. When it ceases to be of value for this purpose it will go down again. So keep a tight eye on the price after you make your initial purchase and if it drops more than say 8% the chances are the trend is down so dump the lot.

  27. I can just see Bob the yank walking around with his sat-nav looking for where the little cottage used to be before it was demolished and the ditches were bulldozed out to make room for the large farm which after the REPs scheme ran out was bought by a British landlord who intended to build a golf course on it but then it got rezoned for development after the FF-PD & FG countycouncilors were paid off before the developer build a ghost estate on it, who got loans from Anglo, which was taken over by NAMA then Bobs great great great gran nephews broke the windows and drew hash plant leaves on the inside walls of the houses which didnt sell because they were out of work and boared now Constaintene Whats_his_face is campaigning to have them demolished so as too keep house prices artificilly high and make a name for himself……meanwhile Lisbon 2 is going to remove Irish voting rights within the Eu. Bob is not going to be impressed with his visit to the Euro-Dictatorship

    • Gege Le Beau


      Who knows a mass arrival might spark some kind of local revolt over land rights, which would have the unintended consequence of spreading around the country like wildfire and toppling the FF cabal, self interest is after all one of the few things that seems to truly motivate people these days.

      The Field: Outsiders (This is deeper than you think Yank)

  28. Gege Le Beau

    What about the French strikers, surely worth a mention, they are getting in touch with themselves, more power to them!

    Mark Weisbrot – Why the French protestors got it right

    Professor Philippe Marliere – Sarkozy Under Siege

    • StephenKenny

      The French seem to be must less in awe of their politicians, and system. The current republic, the 5th, has lasted abou 50 years I think, and it must be on everyone’s mind that it might just be time to have a look at the 6th.
      It seems like a healthy balance to me, but the French have a much more generally agreed way of life than other countries.

  29. Gege Le Beau


    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too:
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same:.
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
    And never breathe a word about your loss:
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much:
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

    Rudyard Kipling

    • michaelcoughlan


      If people live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
      If people live with hostility, they learn to fight.
      If people live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
      If people live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
      If people live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
      If people live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
      If people live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
      If people live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
      If people live with tolerance, they learn patience.
      If people live with praise, they learn appreciation.
      If people live with acceptance, they learn to love.
      If people live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
      If people live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
      If people live with sharing, they learn generosity.
      If people live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
      If people live with fairness, they learn justice.
      If people live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
      If people live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
      If people live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live

      If we cop ourselves on and stop talking shite on this website we may be able to make a personal difference regarding the country and inspire others to do so aswell.

      Michael Coughlan.

    • michaelcoughlan


      Now if you load your rifle right
      And if you fix your bayonet so
      And if you kill that man, my friend,
      The one we call the foe,
      And if you do it often, lad,
      And if you do it right
      You’ll be a hero overnight
      You’ll save your country from her plight
      Remember God is always right
      If you survive to see the sight
      A friend now greeting foe…

      No you won’t believe in If anymore
      If’s an illusion
      If’s an illusion
      No you won’t believe in If anymore
      If is for children
      If is for children
      Building daydreams

      If I knew then what I know now
      (I thought I did you know somehow)
      If I could have the time again
      I’d take the sunshine leave the rain
      If only time would trickle slow
      Like rain that melts the fallen snow
      If only Lord if only
      If only Lord if only

      Oh I don’t believe in If anymore
      If’s an illusion
      If’s an illusion
      No I don’t believe in If anymore
      If is for children
      If is for children
      Building daydreams

      No I don’t believe in If anymore
      If’s an illusion
      If’s an illusion
      No I don’t believe in If anymore
      If is for children
      If is for children
      Building daydreams

      Roger Whittaker

      • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

        I presume you still retain some faith in causality ?
        My personal contribution is emmigrating.

  30. Tull McAdoo

    Calamity Coughlan seems to think that the problem with FAS was its name, so She proposes to spend millions of Euro on consultants and advisors and committee’s and sub committees, focus groups, astrologers, mystic megs, shaman, witch doctors, cronies from Donegal and her friend Biddy the big sheep from down the road, with a view to re-branding this wayward beast.
    Calamity knows it will cost millions to change all the letterheads, documentation etc etc. because that’s what it cost when they changed its name before from ANCO after ANCO had eaten Manpower and became extremely ill because Manpower was full of a bacteria similar to salmonella but better known to you and me as “Irish Civil Servants”.

    That’s what the diagnosis of the problem was the last time. Irish semi-state (Anco) absorbs Irish Civil Service quango (Manpower) and morphs into one of the biggest fuck up’s, in the entire State. Now I have read suggestions today from some who claim that it is only a matter of re-arranging the letters from FAS to SFA, as the latter better reflects the ethos and competence of the organisation since its inception. For those a bit slow on the uptake SFA of course stands for Sweet Fuck All, because that was all it was worth to anybody that was an outsider.

    My suggestion to Calamity for what its worth is to re-name this outfit to something more befitting the purpose it has shown for the last number of years. Yes folks you have guessed it FAS will now be known as “ticket master 2” with its new mission statement (borrowed from NASA)…..”TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO QUANGO HAS GONE BEFORE”. …

    • BrianC

      On starship FAU F— All Use

      Next time I bump into her in Donegal Town I will relay your thoughts

    • Deco

      FAS will be renamed (with money spend on consultants reports to justify the exercise). It will be called FASA,

      one small expense item for the taxpayer…. one more great junket for all involved….

  31. Tull McAdoo

    I hope this is not our opening salvo accross the bows of the Diaspora……..


    • Harper66

      Well done John. It takes great courage to stand up and be counted. I have great respect for you.

    • BrianC

      I listened to the recording very carefully.

      A very great pity that we did not listen way back then and behave in a more responsible manner. But it really reflects Irish society which is more to do with who you know than what you are and what you can achieve. This favours a weak intellect resulting in poor inappropriate governance where responsibility accountabilty frugality loyalty personal integrity and duty to serve others before self have little relevance thus less meaningful.

      I was once a customer of Anglo. I was in manufacturing and in the 90′s they were just not interested in supporting manufacturing. I had a very interesting conversation with the chap who looked after my account which I might add was AAA never missed a payment and paid down several loans. The conversation centered on their operating costs for the bank which was fine tuned down to how much the rent/ lease was for the paper waste basked beside their desks. The chap told me that sadly the bank did not value the custom I had given which he thought was an insult as he said how do they think they built this bank and now all they were interested in was property so called real assets. But there you go blind pursuit of profit veiled the true value of the customer and their pursuit was so myopic they even dispensed with their own fundamental criteria Character, Capacity and Collateral.

      I could go on at length. But truthfully Ireland has never really truly valued its indigenous industry and that is our heritage from an agrarian society supporting an upper professional administration class with their hand on an emigration valve to support their self serving status quo.

      I add my voice to Harper 66 “Well done John. It takes great courage to stand up and be counted”. And I too have the greatest respect for you. It is a shame that those in political office do not have a moral compass.

      The banking laws in Ireland are an absolute disgrace and the bankruptcy laws even more moronic.

      You could get depressed believing we are not fit to govern ourselves but one should never give up hope and the fact you were so insightful so long ago keeps the flame burning no matter how faint. How can we persuade people like DMcW, Karl Whelan and a great many others to deliver the leadership we so badly desire and need and seasoned educated people like you. So until that happens we must suffer the dynasty dross of the Dail. Look at the support that was given to George Lee; his performance nor the outcome was the point. The people wanted change and still do and I think now more than ever the people will listen more carefully to what is put before them.

    • Julia

      Well done John. You are absolutly right. We have to stand up and decide what sort of country we want for our children and grandchildren. It can never be said that the state wasn’t warned. Well done again.

    • Dorothy Jones

      @John Allen
      I listened, well done. I have some evidence which you may wish to add to your body of work.

  32. listen part 1 and 2 seperately

  33. Reality Check

    I have to say I’m surprised at some people here recommending Patrick Holford. To describe him as a quack would be generous in the extreme – avoid this guy at all costs.

    Before making your mind up – read Ben Goldacre’s comments about him.


  34. Deco

    Next uo, Lisbon 3.0. The absurdity just never ends. The problem with the last Treaty (including them cast-iron gaurantees that you don’t hear about anymore) is that it did not allow some people to interfere enough in other countries business.


    I wonder will our politicians be sticking up posters with “Vote Yes, for Jobs” again ?

    Interestingly enough before the Lisbon 2.0 Referendum Wolfgang Munchau in the FT did declare that the Lisbon Treaty had been usurped by the Financial Crisis.

    Dick Roche reckons he has a solution. He tells us that, Lisbon is not a self-amending treaty, but it does allow itself to be amended if the need requires. By the politicians of course. Now if that isn’t a crooked answer, I wonder what is..

  35. Deco

    An appraisal of us leaving the Euro…


    There will be kickback from this. And presumably the Anglo Bondholders will want real Euros back, and not Punt 2.0 money…

  36. Philip

    Just looking at the diaspora thing again from another angle. I am remembering the EU framework programmes which brought companies together from different countries in Europe to engage in projects (R&D etc) which were 50% funded by the or the CEC as it was known at the time. I was in a few such projects and the main beneficiaries I saw were the airlines, hotels and restaurants. The actual cooperative work while interesting rarely yielded anything of concrete or longterm benefit. That said, it did build a contact base for future business which I know led to better things in many instances. The law of unintended effects did kick in.

    Perhaps what we need in Ireland is a similar model of framework programme for our Diaspora. Something which gets a little money from a cooperative and is overseen by a group made up by representatives from the different regions. We can dodge the airlines/hotels etc expenses with the internet.

    I remember some time back some time back that there were serious tax incentives in investing in some states in the US. Perhaps a similar model funded by a credit union overseen by some grey headed types could deliver something similar. Cannot see the government being involved as they are patently useless and quango mad. But I could see the Loughrea model occurring is we say created a workplan which allowed people to articulate a few proposals…Workplan item no xxx might go along the lines of… cholesterol lowering cheeses – proposals are invited from groups who MUST comprise of at least 3 entities with at least one Irish and One Diasporaian. One member to have proven funding capability – and then proposals leverage local lotto fund with grey headed experts review.

    • Philip

      The trick is to articulate the workplan – i.e. what is it you’d like to see being addressed in Loughrea or in general. This builds your targets for proposals. The idea is to stimulate reasons for meeting up which have objectives.

  37. Harper66

    Interesting article. The proposal is refreshingly practical. It is dependant of people doing things.Actual things like meeting, planning and carrying out those plans.

    “For the Week of Welcomes, these returning members of the local diaspora, many newly identified, will attend several days of lectures in the local school on Irish history, literature and so on, visit a local GAA match and attend a local Comhaltas session ”

    I admire it also as it draws on the strenghts already in place in Ireland, namely our culture.The scheme acknowledges the importance of our culture,not just as a tool to promote ourselves but also the importance of culture to remind us of who we are as a people. However I dont mean trotting out Heaney and Bono.

    I think all are argeed any recovery will be based on local business providing tangible services to local people for tangible cash (or gold depending on who your dealing with!)

    I wonder would it be possible to set up a website similar to the Kiva project –


    However instead of Irish businesses just looking for funding they could also request other supports to help them set up the business.For example people could post up what enterprises they wish to start and people could reply offering funding/investment, advice/ mentoring, distributing possiblities

  38. Dorothy Jones

    Sitting in a cafe in Berlin reading an article on the irish economy in the German Financial Times ‘Die bittere Medizin fuer Irland’ [Ireland's bitter medicine]on wissen.de. The language in the article is uncertain ‘Kein Ende in Sicht’ ‘Die Aussichten sehen nicht besser aus’: ‘No end in site’, ‘The prospects do not look any better. It’s a sorry tale on this beautiful autumn day and it is particularly poignant as many Germans have a fondness for Ireland and its people.
    The diaspora [me among them] returned, worked hard and applied our skills as best we could, but presently survival has become very difficult for some of us. The prospect of re-becoming part of that diaspora again is very real for me, and not because I want to or am afraid to try every possible option available. One tries to stay positive and not throw in the towel just because moving away or back might be better for one’s career and/or earnings.
    I believe in the power of the individual to make change, and the idea of networking both inside and outside the country to achieve goals should be fully supported. David is a great man for all the ideas over the years!
    Onwards and upwards!

  39. Alan42

    Good article and there is a business in it . I know a guy in NJ in the States who is Irish American . He listens to Van Mossison and has the Irish flag flying alongside the Stars and Stripes .

    He has a bit of money and he likes to travel . I spent a weekend with him a few years ago and the one thing I got was that he played down his Irishness .

    I asked him about it and he explained that he was a bit embarressed to be in the company of a real live Irishman as he really knew very little about his Irish links . What was odd was that dispite he and his wife havinf travelled all over Europe he had last visited Ireland in 1979 .

    Imagine if he recieved an invitation ? Him and his wife and their dollors would be there in a flash .

    In the US , Ireland and being Irish carries Rock Star like status , Its a pity that we don’t exploit it .

    In Ireland the only thing that is expolited is the taxpayer to pay for TD’s and Ministers wages , expenses and 25 pensions .

  40. Alan42

    I can’t see why Ireland does not exploit its image to become a education hub for the Chinese and the Indians .Its one of Australias biggest exports .


  41. Come on folks-
    being Irish was super cool in the 1960′s in USA.
    Now Middle east.Asia, and Mexico are the North American Diaspora.
    In USA we have no dollars-there is home evicions on a large scale(sound familiar).
    Forbes magazine in 2004 list the prevalance Irish Millionaires at 18% of population.
    it is time for Ireland to employ it’s own resources-
    The world wil not be surprised at’Celtic Tiger 2′
    But it wont come out of the Bronx.

  42. paddythepig

    David, I like your idea, best of luck with it.

    On a completely unrelated topic, this caught my eye ; as it happened in our local school. A retired former headteacher was re-hired as a replacement for a lady gone on maternity leave. It indicates the mentality of a lot of people in established and relatively safe careers, who don’t understand the desperate need that young people have for a start in their lives. It is good to see the department put an end to this practice, though I think it should never have occured in the first place.


  43. Ruairi_OBroin

    more positive suggestions David. Well done. But please don’t forget the fast developing current diaspora wave growing around the world. I left Ireland in 1995 and often go back to visit. I’m in Cambodia which is growing at 5% per annum despite the global downturn. Recent emigrants might be a better bet in economic terms than generations who left Ireland centuries ago because they still have close ties and loyalty to Ireland.

  44. I’m not sure I share David’s obsession with the ‘Irish diaspora’ who at this stage are probably as about Irish as Finchley.

    What about the new Irish? Those who have ended up here from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe. They are ones who really provided the engine for growth during the so-called ‘celtic tiger’ phase. And even if a lot of them are returning home now, they still have links with this place. Important links too, not some vague, wishy-washy nostalgia that reads nice on paper but has no practical value. Also, lets remember that this foreign migrant labour originates for the most part from the so-called ‘emerging economies’ and ‘developing world’.

    We should be looking forward not backward if future expansion is to have any viability. That means looking to the economies that are in the ascendancy, not those that are in decline; even if this is not so apparent at the moment.

    • John Q. Public

      They didn’t all provide growth for the Celtic Tiger. Nigerians in particular did nothing but claim every benefit under the sun, housing, medical etc. that have cost us billions of euros while our own people who have paid tax at some stage in their lives return home and can’t even get the dole, its a disgrace! I would like to know the ratio of cost to benefit of all foreigners to the Irish economy.

      • ‘Nigerians in particular did nothing but claim every benefit under the sun’. I’ll tell that to my Nigerian friends. That will give them a good laugh.

        The people who cost this country billions were Irish almost to a man. And then there’s the stupid illiterate types who come on this blog. Not much hope when even our eductional system has clearly failed us.

        • That should be ‘educational system’. Your illiteracy must be rubbing off on me too.

        • adamabyss

          Well said Oscar. Nigerians my arse. Like the country wasn’t messed up before any struggling African washed up on our shores trying to save his family. The cheek of people blaming ‘our’ situation on people less well off than us, WORKING THEIR ASSES OFF to make a better life for themselves and their kids. I just got home from a night out in Dublin – I don’t drink by the way so bear that in mind when I say – recession my arse – there is no recession. The pubs and clubs were absolutely packed, everyone had plenty of money to spend, not like Port Au Prince or Lagos where you are thankful for each day you are stil alive. I thought Halloween was for kids, well it used to be, until they decided it was an occassion that people could be fooled into celebrating. Anyway, it’s not the willing foreigners we should be blaming for our troubles. It’s our Irish selves and the sooner we face up to that the better. Night Ireland.

        • The only thing I would add to my previous comments and what adamabyss has to say is as follows:

          Those ‘struggling Africans’ aren’t going to be struggling indefinitely. Nigeria, as a case in point, is a country of 160 million people making it the most populous in Africa. It currently holds a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council. It is abundantly rich in oil and other resources. It has the world’s second largest film industy – after Bollywood but bigger than Hollywood. This is a glimpse of what the future is going to look like, whether poor old John Q. Public likes it or not. Why not cultivate links with these people while they still might have use for people like us?

          And as for his comment about ‘our own people who have paid tax at some stage in their lives’. That could refer to teenagers buying cigerettes. If you are entitled to a benefit why shouldn’t you claim it, regardless of whether you are Irish or foreign. Look at the politicians. They know how to milk that particular cash cow.

          • Gege Le Beau

            Could not agree more with Oscars comment, and tentative links are underway especially with Nigeria and Kenya, but it is awfully slow. Ireland to its credit is also involved in several other countries through Irish Aid, which does some excellent work. It is very myopic to label the few that arrive here, there are massive possibilities in Africa in terms of education, knowledge and cultural exchange. Ireland’s comparative advantage was its decency, frendliness, genuine compassion, we should thing about tapping into these ‘export’ values, seems to me we’ve been going for the cheap dollar every time because we really don’t know who we are or what we represent. We seem like a clone of some small US state at times, I think we are capable of a lot more. There is plenty of business out there, the Nigerian government would laugh at a cuts €15 billion, its a trifle. We just don’t have the agencies or capacity to adapt required to get down and dirty and fight globally.

            Nigeria is one of the richest countries in the world, but suffers from an elite which has cornered that wealth, they have over 100 universities, hundreds of thousands of capable students, but I sense a fear or reluctance at the heart of government policy when it comes to developing things on a deeper level.

            Ireland is one of the best positioned countries, speaking to my African colleagues Ireland is very much seen as a honest broker, with an above average education system, kind people and peaceful society. The diaspora is one thing (and I say well done to David on the level of trying stuff and putting it out there), but I feel given my travels and conversations that there are more beneficial seams out there including in Central (the Polish consider themselves Central Europeans by the way) and Eastern Europe and among the BRIC nations.

            We have an incredible opportunity if we shift focus away from the ‘West’. As for China, links with Chinese universities are developing, but again it is at nowhere near the level it should be, again there are probably not so good reasons for this, one thing I did notice is that one Irish university is creating a ‘campus’ in a Chinese city, the idea that teaching staff can go to China and not have students physically coming to Ireland where the capacity is not what it could be. There is also the idea of the virtial university, like the Open university, where everything is done online for a fee, could be interesting as well. What about Japan, population of 120 million, have we ever engaged with that massive market?

      • michaelcoughlan

        Hi John,

        Your point is very badly made. It is very dangerous to generalise. There are a lot of Irish people who screwed the system. In case you have missed the point the total number of sociopaths in charge of our failed banking and regulatory authorities almost all male and Irish would fit in a double Decker bus. They have cost us many multiples of the cost of benefit cheats.

      • Dilly

        I have Nigerian friends who are very hard working engineers here in Ireland. We go to them when we can’t sort out a problem and they always find a fix. The current immigrants in Ireland remind me of me back in the 80s. There are some, who just rely on dole handouts, just like the Irish did in the UK twenty years ago. I know Irish people who moved to the Uk in the early 90′s, and they have still not done a days work since moving there. But the English just accept that. They have moved on from the “blame the immigrants” mind set.

  45. eamondo

    D Mc W writes an article about inviting foreign investment / interest in Ireland and the follow up comments move on to Nigerians and Poles, (the latter probably better described as East European Guest Workers), Shannon Airport hosting the USA Air Force, Bloody Sunday etc etc.

    Hello every one out there in Ireland Land, its time to move on, there are bigger fish to fry now, try concentrating your energies in uniting a movement against the government, (reference, the French). Another country that has “history” with its neighbours the UK, but instead of blaming history and former enemies for its current financial status takes to the streets with direct action. Sure it gets hi-jacked by rent-a-mob, but they get their point across pretty well.

    Anyway, what are the “Poles” supposed to do with their wage packets, invest it in the Irish property market???

    Time to stop blaming immigrants, former colonial masters etc for the current woes of Ireland and look back at more recent history, and ask what more could have been done during the Credit (Celtic) Tiger years. Maybe increasing taxes a point or two instead of dropping them for purposes of popularity within government.

    Take to the streets, but don’t burn the houses of foreigners this time, start elsewhere.

    • Gege Le Beau

      Doesn’t take long for the xenophobia to come out.

      This abbreviated article I penned was to be published but was canned for ‘the need to focus on the economic crisis’ (hope people don’t mind me posting it, I just got annoyed at the Polish/Nigerian comments, which I find unacceptable). The Poles have overcome a huge amount, I visited Poland in September and I am going back in December to check things out further, when I saw the article highlighting the €841 million they send home, well it did not surprise me. I have nothing but the highest respect for them.

      //Poland: Where geography is no longer a villain//

      In these challenging economic times it seems inevitable that people begin to lose heart given the magnitude of the problems facing the country. There are greater numbers of unemployed, families cutting budgets and a strong sense of foreboding for a country that was once a beacon of confidence and apparent success.

      It would be wrong however to think that such enormous dilemmas are unique to our shores. In fact, the waiting room of such dramas is packed with countries who have battled circumstances even more dire that our current predicament. This is especially true of our European partners who have had to contend with some of the most challenging times in modern history, one such country is Poland.

      More than once, Poland has found itself at the epicentre of European and world events often under assault by enormous forces that trampled its frontiers and eclipsed its very existence. Poland’s most perilous time was reserved for the twentieth century when both Hitler’s legions and Stalin’s Red Army poured over its borders and despite gallant Polish resistance and Western betrayal, the country slipped beneath a wave or repression and terror from which it would take decades to emerge.

      A recent visit to Łódź, Poland’s 3rd largest city, and former industrial powerhouse, revealed the trials of a country on a scale that seemed barely comprehensible. The period of Nazi occupation saw some of the most repressive measures ever deployed against a civilian population. The Polish language was banned, Polish place names were Germanised overnight (Łódź was renamed Litzmannstadt after the German General Karl Litzmann who captured the city in the First World War) and a strict military curfew was introduced.

      In the autumn of 1939, the Nazis implemented ‘AB-Aktion’ which aimed at eliminating Polish intellectuals and the cream of Polish society. In Krakow, university professors were rounded up for as one Nazi officer put it: “not understanding the new reality of German occupation”. In total, more than 30,000 others were arrested and approximately 7,000 (political leaders, professors, teachers and priests) were massacred at various locations around Poland. Similarly, in the Soviet zone of occupation, 22,000 Polish officers were also executed in what came to be known as the Katyn massacre.

      In total, Poland lost 6 million of its citizens with the burden falling most heavily on its youth and intelligentsia. This was coupled with the near total destruction of its social and economic infrastructure. Its agony did not end there.

      In the post-war period, Poland was once again sacrificed at the negotiating table, condemned to toil under successive Soviet backed regimes where political and social freedoms were in short supply. The oppression was only gradually challenged when in 1980, from the dockyards of Gdansk, came Solidarity, an umbrella organisation representing a cross-section of Polish workers, led by the charismatic Lech Valesa, who subsequently became Poland’s president and who oversaw the country’s transition to a post-communist state.

      From 1990 onwards, Poland sought to put its troubled past behind it and emerge to take its place on the international stage while simultaneously grappling with the enormous internal economic challenges that accompanied the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. In the short term, this led to very harsh economic times for the average Pole and many of the children of this generation arrived on our shores, often with the burden of these historical struggles on their shoulders.

      Today Poland is a ‘success story in progress’ and is attracting a large section of its diaspora home. Since 2004, EU membership and access to EU structural funds have provided a major boost to the economy. Unemployment is below the EU average and GDP growth remains strong. Poland has successfully secured foreign direct investment and Łódź is a good example of this with its burgeoning tourism and multinational sectors, one of the longest commercial thoroughfares in Europe (Piotrkowska Street is 4.9km from end to end) and the impressive Manufactura shopping district located close to the city centre.

      With its optimistic youth, increased student numbers (there are 120,000 students in Łódź alone) and a history of triumph over adversity, the prospects for Poland seem brighter than its troubled past. Ireland shares many similarities with this history: the struggle for independence, the mixed fortunes of our peoples, the cycles of boom and bust; however, if Poland is anything to go by then we should not give up hope that we can restore the country to a more sustainable footing.

  46. DarraghD

    I remember hearing this song like 15 years ago, never in my wildest dreams would I have dared to imagine or dream how true the words of this cong would become apparent to us in 2010… William Butler Yeats of 1913 meets Johhny Logan…


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