March 16, 2011

The invite that we should all be clamouring to send

Posted in Irish Independent · 87 comments ·
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Last Saturday, the green bunting was up and the giant leprechauns were adorning the souvenir shops on Lexington Avenue. On Third Avenue dozens of Irish pubs had flags flying in expectation of the Big Day. New York was preparing for St Patrick’s Day, when thousands will descend on Fifth Avenue for the parade.

Far from the epicentre, there will be thousands of smaller parades and parties as the particular “Irishness” of much of Irish America is on display. These are our people and for them, Ireland is not just a small country in the Atlantic experiencing some financial difficulties. Ireland for them is something much bigger. It is the mothership of a global tribe of which the Irish Americans are the main clan.

The vast majority of Irish Americans have never set foot in Ireland but they want to be connected with the place. And that is the opportunity.

Last Saturday, heading for JFK, it was clear that the majority of the traffic was going the other way. The foyer of Fitzpatrick’s Hotel in Manhattan was filling up with businessmen and politicians as I checked out. The great and good were coming to New York to attend the various functions that mark St Patrick’s Day in the Big Apple. Business lunches and breakfasts, flashy get-togethers, speeches and glad handling will be the order of the week.

These meetings are essential and are all part of greasing the wheels of the commercial relationship between the two states and the big businesses. These financial ties are deep and significant. After all, corporate America has invested more in Ireland than in China and America combined. Meanwhile, Irish companies actually employ more people in America than American companies employ in Ireland.

Important as they are, these meetings and this effort to fuse the “Diamante Diaspora” to the mother country could really be described as the top of the pyramid. At the very top of the 40 million-strong Irish American pyramid, you have the politicians and the influential business and media people. These are the focus of much of the razzmatazz, but what about the people at the bottom of the pyramid? What about the other diaspora a few rungs down from the “Diamante Diaspora?”

What about the millions of others who know they are Irish Americans, would like to visit Ireland but have no easy way of getting to know where they are from or who their people are? Imagine one of these people got an email, not just from the Ireland their great-grandfather was from, not from the county their people came from, not even from the town but from the actual parish their forefathers were from? Imagine how that would make them feel.

And what if that email invited them home for a “week of welcomes” in their home parish with all sorts of local activities laid on?

Imagine for a moment in a world of people trying to find their ancestors, that instead of them finding their ancestors, their ancestors found them?

Well, this is exactly what is going on due to a brilliant initiative which is up and running in the parishes of east Galway and could be replicated all over the country. For me, Ireland Reaching Out is the most interesting of the many diaspora- related projects that emerged from the Farmleigh conference two years back.

What makes it so exciting is that it is a grassroots project, coming up from the parishes, rather than a top-down initiative. It is the brainchild of a Loughrea-based entrepreneur Mike Feerick and a few weeks ago when I stood up to speak at the Lady Gregory Hotel in Gort and looked out at the audience of local volunteers, I realised his dream was on the way to becoming a reality.

Last year after Farmleigh, Feerick came to me and suggested we organise and enable 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 people to reach out across the world.

It isn’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 more 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 work together in national competitions like the Tidy Towns.

Once the people are contacted they are invited back to their home parish for a week of welcomes. The Loughrea initiative is up and running and already the first Irish Americans have been contacted out of the blue and they have signed up to come “home” for this year’s first week of welcomes (http://bit.ly/gA6Ght).

Far from the glitz of midtown Manhattan, on a freezing cold January night in Gort, the people who will make this happen in east Galway met up. On the stage a formidable nun — Sister de Lourdes — spoke passionately about all those who had left the area. She was a mine of information. She literally knew everything about everyone, where they went, what town-land they left from and where they might be now.

In the parlance of modern business Sister de Lourdes is the “killer app” — the special, unique feature that will make this project work over and above others.

But think how many Sister de Lourdes might be out there? The country is full of people with an encyclopedic knowledge of their own parish. If their knowledge is harnessed and combined with modern technology the combination will be unstoppable.

This recovery will not come from outside. It will come locally and it will come from us. Ireland Reaching Out is part of that process.


  1. adamabyss

    subscribe.

    • rapier0954

      I am one of the so-called Irish Diaspora who apparently are going to help bail Ireland out of its latest round of troubles. But that will not happen because I have read and heard the comments of the Irish of the Celtic Tiger directed towards the so-called Diaspora. Calling us Plastic Paddies and a great deal worse can be read on Youtube. Back in the day when the Tiger was roaring and full of bile these people had plenty to say and we quickly learned what they thought of us. Now all of a sudden we are to believe we are welcome and some local will take us around and show us the plot of ground our forefathers farmed etc etc PIE IN THE SKY BS the whole of it. You buggers do not like us in the so-called Diaspora (and I can’t think why not because my parents and grandparents sent plenty of $$ back home as did plenty of others) you just love our money. Honest to God, I hope the American Irish quit being so gullible and leave these people to stew in their own juice. They are nothing but a bunch of ingrates. Spend your money somewhere else where the climate is warmer and so are the people as well. Who in their right mind can be proud to be from such a sad sorry mess of a country such as Ireland.

  2. Gege Le Beau

    Act locally think globally?

    Wish you well with the endeavour, things have to be tried.

    • Massey Ferguson

      Think Global, Act Local, ‘Be Parochial’ – Literally

      • Indeed, it is being parochial alright but if we can replace parish-pump-poltics with proactive-parochial-action that serves a greater good then I am all for it!

        • Massey Ferguson

          Amen to that Michael.
          I did mean being Parochial in an active marketing (get off your bum and get the Committeeeeeee formed sense… :)
          That is the ‘USP’ of the project.

  3. David,

    I agree 100% that the Ireland Reaching Out initiative needs to be supported and developed. It would be great, if this time next year, when the Taoiseach visits the White House for St. Patrick’s Day, that such an opportunity could be used to promote Ireland Reaching Out to Irish-American diaspora. Maybe even get Moneygall in Offaly involved and do a showcase on President’s Obama’s Irish roots, or do something similar with Joe Biden.

    BTW if anyone is interested the Ireland Raching Out link on Facebook is as follows:

    facebook.com/irelandxo

    I think it is an idea worth supporting.

    All the best with it!

  4. Annieke

    This is a brilliant idea, need to get more publicity and show people how to do it, how to make the connections, etc etc

  5. [...] David McWilliams – The invite that we should all be clamouring to send: Last year after Farmleigh, Feerick came to me and suggested we organise and enable local Irish [...]

  6. wills

    David.

    The main reason for this initiative is purely down to commerce.

    Now, when the connections are made and the americans make a trip to revisit their roots what next then.

    Will the local communities reduce the rip off B n B prices. Reduce the rip off restaurant and hotel prices and will the quality of service and bang for your buck be there for the homecoming.

    And the answer is ………………………

    • wills

      You said : ‘The main reason for this initiative is purely down to commerce.’

      In the purest initiative and the drive to do commerce maybe the word ‘sex’ is more apt before it follows to the word ‘commerce’.

      Ml Lowry has the best initiative for local development. ‘Casino’ is in between.. Can you beat that ?

  7. Deco

    There is a lot of goodwill in other countries towards Ireland, from people of Irish descent.

    However, I think that there are also points to remember.

    Irish Americans have urgent issues in the US to resolve, like jobs for their kids, the value of their savings, the community spirit etc.

    And secondly, we must get rid of the tendency towards arrogance that has developed since the mid-1980s. We are very good at turning other people away with our arrogance, and yearning for “know-it-all” superiority. A large amount of humility, and self-respect would be called for.

    In other words, if we modify our behaviour, we might get better results. If we continue with this need for having to convince ourselves that we are superior to the descendents of those who were treated cruelly by the system that we advertise, then we are making fools of ourselves.

    Somehow or other, I can see people in rural hamlets in Galway getting this, far faster than the knowitalls checking out the latest designer brandnames in Dundrum shopping centre.

    Also we should bear in mind that all small businesses are being treated as suitable victims for the gombeens running the local authorities, in respect to the charging of commercial rates. This is the source of a lot of the rip-off culture in the service sector.

    • Radio Feckim

      Well said Deco… more or less, I can’t comment on the local issues.

      I will say as a two decade emigrant to the US, I’m constantly sickened by the hubris and arrogance of Irishmen and Irishwomen in their dealings with Nth generation Irish.

      The last 10 years have been filled with guile and bile, watching friends from “the old country” work themselves into early graves and debt.

      Wake up. We’re not that great, by no means superior to, as Deco says… “the descendants.[...] of the system we advertise”

      Our position in this world is not guaranteed. We’ve a great heritage and history, warts and all. Embrace that and work hard every day to bring it into the future, but don’t be an know-it-all arsehole, a slave nor a fool.

    • Colin

      Deco,

      RTE pressing all the Pride Buttons today.

      http://www.rte.ie/stpatricksday/

      Proud to be Irish, ten good reasons.

      1. Anglo Irish Bank
      2. White Collar Crime
      3. Ponzi Schemes
      4. Corrupt Politicians
      5. Classes in Prefabs
      6. Litter
      7. Acting the Maggot while Drunk, then calling it Craic
      8. Obesity
      9. Family Breakdown
      10. Hatred of the British

      • Deco

        Usual superficial nonsense from Pravda-RTE.

        Things are sure going swell.

        Concerning your list of serious issues, we have serious work to do in this country. These are real problems. Image, and “presentation” can not solve the problems. Pretending that we other stuff, often virtual stuff is more important is a collective delusion. A delusion that is fed by media and business interests, under the objective of “keep the fools spending”.

        Serious honesty, and serious hard work are required. Both seem to be abhorrent to the “something for nothing, look how coool it is” mentality that has taken over this country in the past three decades.

        • Serious honesty, and serious hard work are required ^

          Serious hard work begins within the self Deco and I bet the new reality is making a lot of people change their thinking in ways they never imagined. If this is true then it would prove that there is already a lot of hard work being done on individual levels

          You might like this article by myars in which he compares the people of Japan to the road workers of Ireland –

          http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/kevin-myers-japan-rebuilds-while-workers-on-m50-have-been-toiling-for-months-2584200.html

          • Deco

            Paul – thanks for the link.
            You are correct. Self-development, sel-improvement, self discovery and all related areas is extremely important. Especially, when you look at the type of disfunctional behaviour that results when it is not done. And this is what we see as we look back over the past decades. Substance abuse. Lemming runs. Crazes. Fads. Debt binges. Speculation. All because far too few bothered to look inside of themselves and see what was there and understand it. Outward projection has failed. The concern for the superficial has been found to be a factor in economic failure.

            In the mid-1990s I remember reading an article in the Sindo by Prof Anthony Clare. And beside the article there was a picure of “Coco the clown” driving a shiny new merk with a Dublin reg, trying desperately to prove that he was happy. It was a very educational peice. Unfortunately, the good professor passed away before he got to tell Irish people that the plot was being lost in the midst of the affluence.

            We should have provided for stability. But stalibity was a concept that was liberally ridiculed as being unsuitable. Recklessness became standard. The Manufacturing of consent. Our consumer behaviour resulted in debt. And now it is “payback time”.

            Myers is correct about the Japanese workers. He is also correct about the M50 debacle. When this settles down, we will face the fact that modern society has to accept Nuclear Energy, or else many will be “shivvering with hungry bellies in the dark”.

      • Hahaha. very funny Colin.
        Now that is not being very positive is it?

        • Colin

          Pauldiv,

          It is being positive, I mean, how can you improve as a people if you are unwilling to look at yourselves in the mirror to begin with. Looking in the mirror, you have nowhere to hide, you can’t see anyone else, its just you. There is so much wrong with Irish economy and society and it can’t get it cured unless you face up to the problems first.

          • It made me laugh so it must be positive and by making someone laugh you have done a good deed

            There is a logical order to the list – points 1-4 can be said to be the causes of points 5-10

          • Colin

            Thanks Pauldiv,

            Humour is very important to me, I’d have gone insane a long time ago if there wasn’t any humour in my life.

            As for the order, it just came out that way, a natural order from the mind to the keyboard to the screen to the website, never thought of it as points 1-4 being the causes of 5-10, but you’re right. If only I had a symmetry of 1-5 and 6-10, then I’d be really happy.

    • Case in point, when Citigroup announced 250 more high paying jobs for Ireland (Dublin and Waterford) last December the RTE journalist who was covering the story made a point to the effect “do we really need more bankers?”. In an economy reliant on US multinational investment we need to be cognizant that we desperately need all job creation and we should learn to shut our gobs rather than make smart-arse remarks which will only work against us in the long term.

      Irish Americans occupy key positions in many industries in the US, especially financial services. Jack Welch is a well known Irish American business figure but there are many others. Just count the amount of Irish names on this list of global CEOs. These people can be key players in trying to rebuild our economy.
      But nobody will help us if we treat them badly.

      • Colin

        But but but…. Gege Le Beau and his ilk (including many in the media) have problems with the likes of Jack Welch coming here and creating jobs for Irish people because …. well…. he’s a capitalist and as long as there is a child in Ireland who cannot read.

        • Deco

          The hilarious things now is that the left are coming around to the persuasion that Ireland should get some money from capitalism, so as to justify their position in trying to make everybody feel guilty, and thereby inferior to those on the left.

          And apart from that, the private sector are needed to pay these outlandish wages being received by people working for the 800 quangoes. I mean the money for DAA directorships, CBoI NEDs, FAS junkets, the HSE slush fund, etc.. has to cone from somewhere. The DAA can’t pay for their own upkeep from the level of service that they provide compared to everybody else in the business of managing airports….

        • Gege Le Beau

          Why don’t the Irish try to create ethical jobs for themselves instead of being dependent on corporates whose only loyalty is to the corporate tax rate (we’ve seen the fallout in Cork when Fords and Dunlops pulled the plug and overnight thousands of people were made unemployed, similar story with Dell in Limerick, which is surely indicative of a trend).

          Have we run out of all imagination and become so lazy and obsequious that we expect others to do the heavy lifting. Time we grew up.

          • Colin

            After you then Gege Le Beau, go ahead and make those jobs since you’re clearly highly ethical and full of imagination while lacking in laziness and obsequious. You talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?

  8. Deco

    Just a quick entry.

    Last Night there was a claim on Euronews that could mean that the chief proponent of “Marxist intervention for multimillionaires” might be in serious political trouble.

    http://www.euronews.net/2011/03/16/gaddafi-s-son-calls-the-libyan-rebels-traitors/

    More stuff you won’t see on RTE or in the Irish Times – until after it goes viral on the internet.

    http://www.thejournal.ie/gaddafis-son-says-libya-funded-clown-sarkozys-presidential-campaign-2011-03/

    Google “Anglo bondholders revealed”.

    • Deco

      Basically this is what happened.

      Gaddafi Junior told the world that Libya provided some of the funding for Sarkozy’s election campaign.

      A very very serious issue. I urge all of you to look at the first link, at the very last minute of the excerpt.

      I checked up the French newsites. No mention of it. No mention of it in the UK newsites either. Neither right nor left. The French socialists are backing Sarkozy and telling him to get stuck in against Gaddafi – proving once again that the Parti Socialiste are as clueless a bunch of morons that you will find in any political system. With an opposition this idiotic it is no wonder that even Mme LePen is able to claim to be the only serious challenge to Sarkozy. Nothing in the so called left wing media in Britain Observer/Guardian/Mirror/BBC. Completely absorbed with all sorts of nonsense. In Le Figaro, soccer is more important than allegations that Sarkozy is in the pocket of a dictator. In the Observer, Charlie Sheen seems to be more of an issue, than the possibility that the Elysse Palais can be bought. Or maybe they still carry a torch inside for Gaddafi’s “Islamic-Socialism” model of economic management.

      Except one UK newspaper. The London Independent. And that is owned by Russians. Incidentally the Russians are really content at the moment with oil at record highs, and Gaddafi looking to them for support. The Russians must be enjoying this one, considering that Sarkozy was making lots of noise about what NATO should do in response to events unfolding in the South Ossetia crisis.

    • Colin

      Why doesn’t Gaddafi Jn just show us the documents now which prove his case?

      What I get from all this is that the UN doesn’t work since Russia, USA, UK, France & China can never agree on anything at anytime due to their own self interests. Also, it shows Obama as a useless ditherer, who doesn’t wish to support regime change against tyrants even when the wind is behind the rebels. Obama has turned the USA into a pussycat, and we’re back to Osama Bin Laden’s description of why he takes on the once mighty but now weak minded West, “when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse”.

      • Deco

        You’re right.

        Why doesn’t Gaddafi Junior show the world the documentation proving that he helped fund Sarkozy’s election ?

        He seems very confident that he has his facts in order. In fact he seems more clued in than your average military dictator’s hier to the throne. He even seems to be sharper than many democratically elected leaders.

        • Gege Le Beau

          Deco, you are factually incorrect.

          The Guardian has actually carried out superb reporting especially in relation to the hypocrisy and duplicity of the West with regard to the North Africa reports, most especially in relation to Libya, reporting you would never see in the Irish media.

          The Guardian was one of the first newspapers to break the story on the alleged Libyan funding of Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign, not given much coverage in the Irish media. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/16/sarkozy-election-campaign-libya-claim?INTCMP=SRCH

          The commercial ties between Libya and ALL Western countries are quite extensive and worth a great deal of money. The Guardian has being doing cutting edge reporting on this, exposing Western hypocrisy including record UK sales of tear gas, sniper scopes and other items classified as ‘crowd control items’, worth about 45 million sterling. The ties with all the North African regimes have been exposed.

          Given reports now however, it seems Western military strikes against Gaddafi’s forces will begin in hours.

          These may be of interest.

          Gaddafi’s hidden billions (London pads, Italian water)
          http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/22/gaddafi-libya-oil-wealth-portfolio?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

          For dictators, Britain does the red carpet
          http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/01/dictators-britain-arms-trade-hypocrisy?CMP=twt_fd

          When Tyrants want teargas, Britain happy to oblige
          http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/20/teargas-for-tyrants

          Democracy Now in the US is also worth checking for a proper take on events, again the vast majority of material that they cover will never appear in the Irish press.

          In relation to your comments on Gaddafi’s son, if you have watched any of his interviews in detail it is clear the guy is absolutely clueless.

        • Gege Le Beau

          Deco, you are factually incorrect.

          The Guardian has actually carried out superb reporting especially in relation to the hypocrisy and duplicity of the West with regard to the North Africa revolts, most especially in relation to Libya, reporting you would never see in the Irish media.

          The Guardian was one of the first newspapers to break the story on the alleged Libyan funding of Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign, not given much coverage in the Irish media. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/16/sarkozy-election-campaign-libya-claim?INTCMP=SRCH

          The commercial ties between Libya and ALL Western countries are quite extensive and worth a great deal of money. The Guardian has being doing cutting edge reporting on this, exposing Western hypocrisy including record UK sales of tear gas, sniper scopes and other items classified as ‘crowd control items’, worth about 45 million sterling. The ties with all the North African regimes have been exposed.

          Given reports now however, it seems Western military strikes against Gaddafi’s forces will begin in hours.

          When Tyrants want teargas, Britain happy to oblige
          http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/20/teargas-for-tyrants

          • Deco

            I went seraching on the Observer/Guardian news media group and could not find it. I was astounded at the thought that a left wing media operation would not have something to say about the election campaign of a right wing politician in France, and allegations that it was funded by a military dictator.

            But you went to much more trouble than I did, and you did find it. And this is good news because it means that people are learning about what is really behind Sarkozy. Therefore you have vindicated the guardian, in this instance. And you are correct about the Irish media being silent on the matter.

            Of course there is now a UN resolution, and things have stepped up a gear. I am a bit suspicious of French manoevring in this area, now. The interests of the French president could become a policy objecitve.

            Bear in mind this is the rogue who circumvented his own people over the Lisbon Treaty, because he did not trust them. The same rogue who went out of his way to make us do a re-run. The same rogue who has continually campaigned to make sure that the bondholders get every single cent they put into Anglo Banglo back, regardless of the cost to the taxpayers or Ireland or indeed for that matter France either.

            The rogue needs to be revealed for his real agenda.

  9. SLICKMICK

    Post 1960, economic policy has centred around integrating Ireland into the global economy, via luring multinationals to locate here and developing tourism.Net result is bankruptcy , record no of people out of work and emigrating.More of the same policies ?

  10. Begorrah, bejaney, be the hokey.
    Top o’ de pops to yee all!
    Whatever happenned to the Green parties we use’ta have?
    Sure isn’t it grand to be at the bottom of the barrel and not just scraping but diggin with gusto with mighty belts of the oul shovel!
    Sure if we keep diggin’ loike this the oul’ creditors will never again find us. We’ll be loike the ould spuds in before Paddy’s day and not out again til God knows when!
    Sure God bless us and you too! And sure couldn’t we sell it all and in the future say “Happy St Ollie Rehn’s Day!”
    And sure how much would that save us? Begorrah!

  11. For decades the Sisters were not too keen on giving out information on the children they sent to the four corners under different names. Now they are all sweetness and light and want us all to be one big happy clan again. There is something shallow in all of this David

    At the moment there is group of businessmen set to lobby for draconian measures which will hit the low paid and their families in Ireland. Our communities are dying and on the west coast there are villages that are now silent but where not long ago the air rang with the sounds of families going about their every day activities. Yet on Paddy’s day people sing ‘On the One Road’ Still, you have to laugh

    You hold up the GAA as an example of what this grass roots project might aspire to. Do we really need another organisation like this? Having mentioned
    the GAA and the Sisters in the same article it seems to me that there are still too many people looking at the world through rose tinted spectacles. It is enough
    to give you cabin fever and make you want to take a foreign holiday

    Some of the Diaspora will have no interest in Paddy’s Day, Drink, Religion and Sentiment. They might smile it off in the hope of not being accused of being
    party poopers but they won’t be fooled. The world knows our faults because the last party we had in Ireland didn’t exactly end in a blaze of glory

    This will takes years to repair and there are some things you cant cover up with lipstick and powder

    Have a safe journey home

    • Just because the GAA and the Sisters are used as an example, it doesn’t mean that we have to subscribe to everything that they stand for. We need to draw-upon the positives that these organisations provide and use this as inspiration for creating something new and forward-looking. After all that is how culture evolves.

      True, maybe not every member of the diaspora will participate. However, even if we get a certain percentage isn’t that better than doing nothing and won’t that go a lot further towards keeping communities on the West Coast alive than the current status-quo? Also, a bit of interaction with other parts of the world might not do the GAA traditionalists any harm either!!!

      There are a lot more positives to Ireland than Drink, Religion and Sentiment and I think it is time that we start getting that message across to the world.

      • Good positive comments Michael. Yesterday I was not in the mood for the paddy’s day stuff when there is a nuclear meltdown in process and a war about to begin in Libya

        There are many positives to Ireland Michael but drink, religion and sentiment are never far away from the surface. When Cowen gave his interview still drunk from the night before it was shown all over the world and they lapped it up laughing at the drunken paddy in charge of the ship

        There is nothing wrong with a couple of pints but some people don’t know when to stop. We are being told to chill out and enjoy paddy’s day in the same week that we are given figures showing one in eleven Irish kids are afraid of their parents drinking, one in four women and 7 in ten men drink far too much for their health. Cost to the Irish economy was quoted at one or two billion. Then we have the usual Paddy’s day local and national news round ups telling of people being beaten senseless in the street

        For ever positive there is a negative Michael

      • Dorothy Jones

        @Michael
        Yes there are many positives; I thought that the theme of the parade yesterday was really lovely and very poignant. This theme was based on the short book by Roddy Doyle [available free online on the St. Patricks Day website] which tells the tale of how the children of Ireland chased away the Black Dog of Depression and said that they ‘were brilliant’. He wrote this while in London looking at coverage of the IMF arrival in Dublin in November.
        A walk in the hills near Lough Dan yesterday in the sunshine, followed by a glass of Guinness on the way back, [I wasn't doing the driving!] is pretty hard to beat….

        • Blackpigsdyke

          Just to add a thought to this discussion, the extent of a drinking culture within a society is inversely proportional to political activity.

  12. St Patrick the Corporate Protector

    Obama has decided to assist the Irish keep their corporate fiscal benefits in the EU by his forthcoming visit to Ireland as a show of strength against the IMF & ECB.

  13. BnB

    I don’t know what the motivation is behind this local project but I don’t share David’s faith in the economic power of the diaspora playing a part in Ireland’s recovery. Ireland needs to sort out its problems itself, instead of relying on either Americans or Europeans to do it for them. Expecting outside help only distracts the Irish from dealing with their situation.

    It seems a bit odd that a country should try to attract people whose families have not lived there for generations when every week it is exporting a thousand people who have lived there all their lives. Somehow the Americans are expected to be of help when even the experienced and qualified Irish emigrants are surplus to requirements.

    • I don’t share his faith either but if some good comes from it eventually then I will give credit where it is due. Being proved wrong can be a life changing experience. Keeping the faith is the only way because there is no alternative

      He is only one voice among millions trying to say something positive in what appears to be an impossible situation. The numbers don’t lie and we have been wiped out by a financial Tsunami

      We might have Obama and the Queen visiting but this smacks of something fishy in my mind. They are welcome of course but what exactly is the point of their coming I wonder. Why don’t we get in touch with Pope’s tour manager and see if he can make it too

      Then we can all whip ourselves into a frenzy and delude ourselves that happy days are here again. We could even ask the Sisters to give us a chorus

      After all you know what they say – you’ve got to be positive

  14. MOON WOBBLE

    I had decided not to reveal this earlier so you can see yourselves the events without rhyme or reason. The actual Moon Wobble commenced on 12 March and it peaks on Saturday 19th March – to 23rd March before it begins to remove itself once more.

    Now we are living in very dangerous moments as the 19th is also the Full Moon.

    ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN NOW .

    • Ah tis yerself Seanín and lets be asking ye.
      Was it the strong stuff you were havin’ to be sayin’ such things?
      Sure the things that make me wobble have little to be doin with the moon?
      And I agree with ye that there’s nothing worse than a crooked St Patricks Parade but sure tomorrow will have it’s own challenges as it always does.
      And I sincerely hope you make at least the 23rd with rude health and lots to be thankful for.
      Dia duit a Sheanín mór!

    • Tull McAdoo

      There is an eerie feeling about the land, right enough. It is like as if we have undergone one of Jack “neutron” Welch’s infamous solutions. All the people are gone and there is nothing left but the buildings and so on.

      Al the people are gone and the infrastructure is rusting away. Moon wobble you say John Allen….. Well I say “Almost a Full Moon” and I let me add, have a video to back up my contention on this matter…….Take it away Enigma……..

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2rUQXc2kAI&feature=related

  15. Gege Le Beau

    UN vote in: 10 votes in favour, 5 abstentions, 0 against, Western military action against Libya is certain to begin within hours.

  16. CitizenWhy

    Just be aware that many Irish-Americans have come to favor the absolute sovereignty of property over people that characterized the landlord class in Ireland, botched any good response to the famine, and sent many poor souls to the vicious prison gulags of Australia. The only issues they care about are lower taxes, attack our enemies abroad preemptively, and assert the superiority of their race and American whites over all others. They will expect Ireland to have a puppet government grateful and submissive to the USA.

    • coldblow

      There is something to what you say about attitudes to property rights. Will Hutton goes into a lot of detail at the start of his book The World We’re In about the origins of the absolutist American concept of private property which I think he contrasts with a more nuanced “social contract” idea in Britain (although I could be mistaken about the latter).

      Crotty saw property in land as lying at the bottom of Ireland’s economic inefficiency and under-performance and its resulting lack of social justice.

      To my mind anyway the bank bailout and subsequent govt policy represent a cave-in to the claims of capital (savings and private property, and bank shareholders initially) at the expense of labour (people’s livelihoods). There should be a balance between them.

  17. Age of Aquarius

    In Davids article he is advocating the ‘age of aquarius’ by default ( no pun intended ).This age is already upon us and its central gravity is ‘communications and languages’. This is the way forward and the beginning is no where else.

    We all have various experiences with our Gaelic tongue both good and bad but what is completely missing from the purpose of that language is the thought medium through which it originally was spoken.By this I mean what did this language have as ‘authority’ originally to make it spoken widespread along the Atlantic seabord.A language is only popular when it has a real need and purpose in the days it was used widespread.People then gave it a real recognition for both power and success.This is a collective commerce in a pure sense.

    Our music has not changed and remains popular yet its root is in the original language.

    Closer examination of our ancient tongue ( Atlantis) is imbued with the heavens and the moons and stars .In those early days the skies were read intimately and messages learned and secrets revealed.Their oracles were stored in the heavens and the earth was a place to work and eat.

    Italian is the music of Opera , English is the music of Law , German is the music of Engineering , French is the music of Food and Love etc .

    Gaelic is the music of the Heavens and that is ours and no one else.We need to develope this and sell it .This is Space Age stuff so get real.It has the greatest potential and now that St Patricks Day was celebrated in space yesterday may I salute their bravery.

    http://memo.fullmoon.info/c/2365554/bJmnqA%3D%3D

  18. Deco

    A bit if good news this morning.

    The Hays recruitment agency are saying that private sector recruitment is picking up substantially.

    However, the positions are in the high skilled areas of the economy. Therefore a lot of people who have no training, no third level education or no experience are going to have to do some adjusting to take part.

    But the key element of this is that the opportunities are emerging for people.

  19. BnB

    Somebody once said on this web site that the island of Ireland is shaped like a baby reaching out to America. It desperately needs to be loved so that it won’t be abandoned by its carer. Enda Kenny was a bit like that on his St Patricks Day trip to the USA when he said that Ireland is America’s gateway to Europe. At least that dispels any illusion that Ireland is an independent sovereign nation.

    On this side of the Atlantic Enda’s been playing up his close relationship with Angela Merkel, as if his Irish charm will bring about generous changes to what he calls “our bailout”. Merkel endorsed his party for the election before last in 2007: “I hope that Fine Gael will be successful and will emerge as the strongest force from the election in May and will take over the responsibility of government.” Apparently this sort of interference is something for the Irish to be proud of and was read out by Simon Coveney at the FG Ard Fheis.

    Being popular with the European elite has come at a very high price. After being forced into rubber-stamping a couple of EU treaties, Ireland now has to take responsibility for the gambling losses of European banks in the Irish property market. And the insistence on pleasing American multinationals with low corporation tax makes the price even higher.

    Trying to please everybody is counter-productive and only makes the Irish look docile and pathetic. It doesn’t get them sympathy or respect in either Boston or Berlin. The Americans have seen Jay Leno ridiculing “drunken morons” like Brian Cowen. The Germans see the Irish as extravagantly spending German money, like the leprachaun guy in this TV clip: http://www.ndr.de/fernsehen/sendungen/extra_3/videos/extra2735.html (sorry, no English subtitles, but you get the gist of it and it’s not particularly funny anyway).

    • Deco

      Well, the punchline comes at the end. And it sums a lot of the inherent assumption of the Irish lifestyle.

      The barman asks for payment. (In Germany you pay on the way out, not after getting served here). And Paddy Westerman directs the barman to his guests, and says that they (“Europe” which in this case means the Germans) will be taking up the bill.

      Actually, it is an exxaggeration of certain truths. In particular the tendency to overspend, be wasteful, and arrogant. And we should take note, that this sort of behaviour is seen, even if few people are telling us to our faces that it is vulgar.

      • I know you become such a coward that you’ll grab at any lousy excuse to get out of killing your pipe dreams. And yet, as I’ve told you over and over, it’s exactly those damned tomorrow dreams which keep you from making peace with yourself. So you’ve got to kill them like I did

        From The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neill

    • BnB

      The image of overspending is a bit out of date and has been replaced by austerity, at least for most Irish people. The scene at the end would have been more accurate if Paddy were penniless and borrowed money from the Europeans so that he could buy rounds for a pub full of drunken bankers. Paddy would have no way of paying the loan back but he feels that he has to be popular with his superiors. Just like in the title of a recent article here, “We’re broke but still buying rounds that we can’t afford”.

  20. Wideawake

    Could we set up a separate post for the contributors who seem to do nothing other than moan about what an absolutely appalling people we are? Every country has its gobshites, rip-off merchants and idiots but only we seem to take pleasure in pointing it out to anyone who’ll listen. Most people I know in business and otherwise in Ireland are intelligent, open and generous, and if the rest of the world saw us as some of the above posts portray us we’d have closed our airports’ arrivals halls years ago… Most of us don’t deserve to be described this way, so keep it for the pub (there’s always one sad oul’ eejit to be found in the late afternoon, all alone and muttering into his pint about the rest of the world…)

    • Colin

      Ah yes, I knew it wouldn’t be long before someone came along and demanded censorship. “Stop Talking down the country!”, “Der’s people here cribbin and moanin, and I don’t know why they don’t go off and committ suicide” and “We’ve turned the corner” and “Sure this country’s too small for 4 million people” and “Why can’t our young people go abroad to places like Australia”

      And then you have IBEC.

      • Wideawake

        Thanks for that Colin. Please do not equate me with Bertie Aherne or IBEC. As for censorship, is my opinion less valid than yours? I’m not ignoring the problems this country has, it breaks my heart as much as yours to see what Irish people have been put through these past few years, all the more so since we are NOT the arrogant, greedy morons that the posts I’m referring to would have you believe. Let’s talk ourselves up, not down, for once.

        • Colin

          Welcome to the site Wideawake, and glad to hear you’re no fan of Bertie or IBEC.

          I’m positive for the future, but only if we get real about what the challenges are and dump the stupid pride and promote fairness in every aspect of work and waelth re-distribution through taxation.

          • Wideawake

            I agree we need to get real, but what we need is genuine pride in what we are as a people – right now it feels as if we’re beaten down with fear about what the rest of the world might be saying about us. The fact is, the rest of the world (barring German and French vested interests) is far more understanding of our predicament than we know, and are better friends to us than we realise. We’re like the kid who got caught nicking a biscuit and thinks his mammy mightn’t love him any more! We have a lot of good traits as a people, that doesn’t change because we fell into bad company for a few years.

        • Eireannach

          Wideawake

          You say it breaks your heart to see what Irish people ‘have been put through these past few years’.

          Tell me – how do you think Irish people felt when they were being ‘put through’ buying new cars every year, often German luxury brands like Audi, Mercedes or BMW (and overpriced and underspeced compared to Germany, FWIW)?

          Were they ‘put through’ the torture of constantly buying new cars, while the likes of the Germans or the Dutch made do with 10 year old cars?

          Were they ‘put through’ the painful experience of multiple holidays abroad every year, where they get to click their fingers and shout ‘garcon, garcon’ or even ‘Manuel, Manuel’?

          Were they ‘put through’ the trial and tribulation of being drunk every weekend?

          I suggest to you that the main ones who are hurting did it to themselves by going into debt and masquerading around like spending other people’s money (namely, the banks) was a sign to other people that you are rich.

          • Wideawake

            Eireannach, there were some of course who endured the pain of new cars and frequent holidays, but nobody I know – It was the pain of being told that you got on the property ladder now or never, at any price, that a 90 minute each way commute was normal, and that entrusting your childrens’ welfare to the local creche for 10 hours a day was acceptable that did for many more – and if after all that some felt they deserved an extra holiday, who are we to disapprove? I’ll repeat my original point; Ireland, like every other nation, has its share of wideboys and tossers, but it’s the willingness on the part of some contributors to this page to believe that the majority of their fellow countrymen deserve what they get that depresses me. It just isn’t true.

          • Colin

            Wideawake,

            “It was the pain of being told that you got on the property ladder now or never, at any price, that a 90 minute each way commute was normal, and that entrusting your childrens’ welfare to the local creche for 10 hours a day was acceptable that did for many more…”

            Its disappointing to see that type of defence, the Nuremburg defence – I was only following orders – now. You ought to have known it was all rubbish, unsustainable and unnatural. You ought to have given McWilliams and Hobbs and others a fair hearing, but you didn’t.

            Now that I’ve seen the Nuremburg defence here, I can begin to understand to power of the mob, and even begin to understand how the most cultured educated people of Europe in the early half of the last century ended up supporting an evil tyrant who brought disgrace and complete destruction on their own country.

    • Deco

      I am not moaning.
      Much of economics is behavioural.
      And there is a statement “behaviour breeds results”.

      I am also reminded about Mama Harney’s line around 2002 “we are not to talk ourselves into a recession”. After that we talked ourselves into a binge. And the binge created the current recession.

      There are important lessons to be learned from the debacle that we created ourselves. So that we are not condemned to repeating the same excesses, to the same degree at a later point in the economic cycle.

    • Deco

      And yes, many people in business are capable and competent people. But they will tell you that they are fed up to the teeth with the institutional quagmire that constitutes the state. They will tell you that the local authorities, the quangoes, and the semi-states provide obcene charges for services that are often of questionable value.

      And that it needs to be reformed.

      • Deco

        Enda Kenny says that Ireland is open for business. (As if it were not three weeks ago). But the real quesion concerns ‘whether or not the state system, of which is CEO of the main holding company, really means business ?’

        The evidence to date suggests that it is just some sort of superficial PR stunt. I await evidence to the contrary. The program for government is a reversal of that “5 point plan” and goes down the road of creating even more quangoes.

        And, there will be more taxes.

    • StephenKenny

      Th difficulty is that far from fixing the underlying problems that caused the 20 (some say 40) year borrowing binge, the actions of the governments over the last 3 years have simply made everything worse.

      Happy talk is nice, but I’ve still yet to see even the slightest effort to explain, demonstrate, indicate, or show, what industries will replace the property and financial services sectors that so dominated the economy since the 1990s.

      Building a wealth-generating economy is actually very hard, and relying on abroad to do it was fine until the world’s economy became just that, a single economy.

      I see that the UK & US are trying to attract entrepreneurs from outside their borders, and the UK is adjusting their corporate tax laws to attract foreign companies. What I haven’t seen is any effort in any of these countries to fix the underlying problem that this ‘entrepreneur importing’ is designed to kick down the road: their internal business deficits.

      We’ve got used to the idea that there’s always a quick and easy fix: Lower interest rates, import skills, multinational companies, “stimulus”, and so on. The truth is that there isn’t.

      What everyone needs to do is start to do things, and produce things, that other people want to buy. It’s nothing to do with interest rates, stimulus, or any of the pseudo-science of economics which, as far as I can see, is increasingly used as little more than a wall of mumbo jumbo behind which the naked emperor resides, and in increasingly threatening tones, demands a pay rise.

      If you’re feeling happy, I’ve got 100 off-plan Bulgarian executive flats that are an real bargain.

      Have the past three years not at least taught us that endless happy talk has cost many good people everything they worked and hoped for? We need sensible talk, not happy.

  21. coldblow

    An-smaoineamh a Dhaithí agus nár lagaí Dia bhur láimh. I gceann leathchéad bliain eile beidh an fear cóir is chuile dhiabhal bocht eile sé troigh faoin bhfód nó ar an mbád bán ach is iad na cnáimhseáilithe agus an lucht gearáin a bheas ann i gcónaí, ag caitheadh clocha leo is ag magadh. Sea, beidh siad ann go deo, le saol na saol, amen.

    “I gcead do chóta is d’onóir, a athair, ach lig dom an chloichín bheag seo amháin a scaoileadh leo agus a chur i gcrích.”

    (S. Ó Cuaig, Leagan Cainte)

    • The Google Translate version (all translators are known to be poor but this one takes the winner’s gong)

      The idea to Chief Executive and not’re welcome your disposal. In one half years of man will be treated every other poor dhiabhal six feet under ground or on the white boat but the complainants cnáimhseáilithe and there will always cast stones at them and joking. Yes, they will be there forever, a world without end, Amen.

      “In the first on your coat and your honor, his father, but let me just this little Clogheen to release them and to carry out.”

  22. The Sun

    This morning the Sun is out in her glory and smiling to welcome the new change now upon us .It is acknowledging the experience of the long journy we endured in the last few years and is rewarding us with laurels and feelings of success.As a Nation we have reached a very important point of change and what is happening around us outside our isle gives us the gratitude to feel lucky once more.Today we are smiling more and feeling good and seeking ‘commerce’.

    Above this magnificant Sun hides away the Full Moon in her Jaguar position bestowing on us in Ireland the new beginning we have reached and has protected us and spared us in her recent journey around the earth .

    This site has written history in our country over the recent years so we can all feel happy to have been a part of its great moments and thank David for making that so.

  23. Tull McAdoo

    You should follow the “yellow brick road” that leads from Limerick, down to me here among the “poor people of South Kerry” John Allen.

    Anyway, back to more mundane matters and particularly the renewal of my pub licence. At face value, you might think it would be a “rubber stamping” matter for me to have my licence renewed, i.e. when you think of the tremendous service I have provided as a County Councillor, Publican, Undertaker, Auctioneer, Post Office and Commissioner for the Peace, and that is just drawing from the first paragraph of my CV.

    The uncertainty so to speak arises from the number of “knocks” I received to the front window during the recent election campaign. One of my great champions Jackie-Healy has handed over the reins to Mickey Stingrae and in the absence of the “balance of power lever” sure wont he be, as flat as his cap.

    My fall back position, i.e. “the bull” has had his you know what’s removed from his under carriage so to speak and has spent the last two weeks above in the new conservatory consoling Kate Ann, not because he lost his Seat but because as a member of South Kerry Royalty, she was expecting an invitation to Prince Williams wedding.

    She does have a point after all, for what’s the point in having 5 thousand Euros per night for the best Hotels handed over on your behalf to become on of Europe’s “A list” if you cannot get an invite to that snotty nosed brat’s wedding. I think we might have to sent a delegation up to Dublin to talk to that fellas Granny when she comes to visit, No Sir , there will be no snubbing of our Kate Ann……

    Oh yes the licence, I would be grateful if all objectors, kept away from the next sitting of the Tralee Assizes, as I am finding all this austerity just a tad tiring…

  24. Tull

    You are always full of spirits well done keep up the rebels of south Kirrie…..poor Daniel O Connell of Caherciveen would bless you.

  25. Thanks as always for all the comments.

    I know that sometimes at first take this Diaspora stuff can seem a little intangeable, but in a world where populations are on the move and where they tend to cluster together in host countries, I believe that the entire area of Diaspora economics will become quite important. We in Ireland can take a leaf out of the Israeli model and be leaders in this field.

    Such expertise could easily become a service export!!

    All the best, David

  26. coldblow

    David,

    I enjoyed your article, the subject being a perennial favourite of yours, though as usual it didn’t attract much attention here, possibly because those born in Ireland don’t quite appreciate these things in the same way as those on the outside.

    There is definitely potential in this on-line diaspora idea. Now I think of it I’m in it both ways, being in my own small way a member of the Mottingham (S.E. London) diaspora. A strange thought.

    The genealogical aspect is the obvious place to start but it has its limitations as, unlike some European countries, the records don’t go back very far at all, and to be honest they are tedious. There seems to be quite a little industry in this area with various professional researchers offering their services. And you can also buy the family coats of arms at the heritage centre in Adare and elsewhere.

    Other drawbacks would be the over-enthusiastic American relative ringing at all times of the day and night checking out on second cousins. This happened to my mother in law and she used to be afraid of answering the phone – and that’s no easy matter. And my mother still refers to the time that a friend of mine, an obsessive genealogist and committed Marxist revolutionary, spent a full hour going over his family tree – he didn’t even pause when Coronation Street came on. I accompanied him once to a midlands convent where the elderly nuns patiently explained that they had no record of his great aunt ever being there. It was a little embarrassing as he didn’t think they were trying hard enough and he was refusing to leave. It turned out later that she had been at a different convent.

    Hospitality is something the Irish do well, as anyone who has been at a rural dance with 3 breaks for a tsunami of tea and sangwiches can attest to. Although many if not most other countries do it nearly as well, if not even better, in my experience. But you have the McCarthy’s Bar kind of thing. As an aside, I notice that hitch hiking seems to be picking up a bit again. The time waiting for a lift is a good index of hospitality. I once stopped for a Scotsman and gave him a lift back to Dublin, it was outside Kenmare, admittedly on a Sunday, but he’d been standing there for 5 hours. I had more success if I jumped into the back of the car with the girls (they never had long to wait) and let on I was with them.

    The GAA reference is perhaps a bit more arguable. Sometimes it seems to divide the community as much as unite it. I have been told that in parts of South Kerry there’s rarely a big game where half the people wouldn’t be secretly praying for the visitors to win. Perhaps Tull can confirm. Some years ago the bro in law started training with a small local side in the midlands where he was working. Then he turned out for them and the results improved. They ended up getting to the semi final in the cup. At this point lads who had long since left the area returned to play in the big game and he was dropped. Friends in the town told him it was a disgrace but I suspect they were used to it and just trying to make him feel better. And I won’t go into what a former Wicklow player told me about the shenanigans in his own county, where you wouldn’t get a pass of the ball if you were from the wrong club. Then again maybe this goes on all over the world.

  27. michaelcoughlan

    Conas ata tu, Peadair? your soapiness!

    Oh deary me Peadair, G-Sucks up to it’s goolies in doo doo again!

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-17/goldman-sachs-engaged-in-fraud-korean-life-insurer-claims-1-.html

    Consistent is certainly the word, Peadair!

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