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Bill Clinton and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet today for an economic roundtable

The Celtic Comeback - Investment in Ireland spurred on by Bill Clinton

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Bill Clinton and Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet today for an economic roundtable

The Celtic Comeback is what Ireland’s latest economic progress has been dubbed after last week’s Invest in Ireland summit held in New York University and hosted by former President Bill Clinton.

Certainly there was optimism in the air, both from Clinton and Ireland’s political leaders who attended, including Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny.

Kenny stated that the best piece of advice he had gotten from Irish American business leaders was to keep up the honest and straightforward approach to Ireland’s difficulties that his government has promulgated.

It is smart advice. If there is one area that was an unmitigated disaster for the government that preceded Kenny’s it was the continued insistence that the Irish economic fundamentals were sound and that the International Monetary Fund and other rescuing institutions would not be needed.\

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That soon turned into probably the most disastrous policy ever put forward by an Irish leadership.
The lack of gilding the lily has served Kenny and his government well.

Bad news is omnipresent, but there is none of the uncertainty about what comes next.

For good or ill the Irish government has embarked on a path to restore the government’s finances. 

enny has stated that by 2016 the natural five-year term of his government will end, and he believes he will be able to point to a country that has recovered from a deep economic malaise.

That goal was certainly helped by the outcome of last week’s economic round table featuring heavy hitters from American business.

The consensus was that it was a good time to invest, with the American economy showing signs of recovery and Ireland a cheaper country to do business in than it has been for over a decade.

The involvement of Clinton is an extraordinary stroke of good fortune for Ireland.

When Irish Americans were the first to make contact with then Governor Bill Clinton in Arkansas in 1989 they could hardly have ever envisaged the vital role that the obscure governor would play in Ireland’s future.

His assistance on peace in Northern Ireland made the peace process possible. Now his help on returning the Irish economy to better times is also invaluable.

The next steps from the New York summit are clear. The Irish government has produced a roadmap of where Ireland needs to go to reach that point of self-sufficiency again and to banish the IMFs and European Central Bank interventions to the pages of history.

Ireland has moved in the right direction, though arguably there was no way but up.

A year ago the country was the sick man of Europe. Now that unfortunate mantle has passed elsewhere.

With friends like Clinton and the Irish American business powerhouse network, it should be possible to definitively turn that corner in the months and years ahead.

Last week in New York was a powerful indicator of just what can be achieved. While it is a long and difficult path, there is no question that the road to recovery has begun.

With an improved international climate, driven by an improving American economy, continued progress for Ireland should be possible. The signs are clearly looking better.

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