Ireland needs Irish America’s help more than ever says top business leader
Denis O’Brien says urgent need to tap into the Diaspora to move Ireland forward
And I look at kids today in, say Dublin, and they’re the 4x4 generation. They don’t have that toughness. I think physical toughness transfers into business and you become more resolute if you’ve had a harder upbringing.
And, you know, now there’s probably no science to what I’m saying, but it’s just kind of my instinct. I listen to presentations in Digicel and these tough country guys are up talking about what’s going on, and it might be a tough market, so you need these men. In fact some of our harder markets, we put the mountainy men in!
O’D: When I told a couple of people I was interviewing you, they had the same question: Is he going to keep paying Trapattoni the Irish soccer manager ?(Denis O’Brien allowed Trapattoni to be hired by underwriting his salary)
O’B: Well I am, I have a gentleman’s understanding with John Delaney. Look, we need to be realistic. I went to all three games in Poland and it was a fantastic atmosphere. I know everyone was beating back home about how we got killed, but look, we were up against the two finalists and Croatia, who are one of the best central European footballing nations. But obviously the team did not perform to its ability and you have to ask why – was it because they were tired? Was it because they were in camp for too long? But at the end of the day Trappatoni is a hell of a manager. He got us there, he nearly got us to the World Cup only for a handball, and the fact that he got us all the way to the European Championships is a great achievement.
O’D: Where does your philanthropic gene come from?
O’B: Everybody in Ireland has a philanthropic gene. As you were raised in Ireland in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s. everybody was collecting for something. There was always a tin somewhere. If you go into a shop in Ireland there are always at least 3 tins – there could be 5 in the west of Ireland.
O’D: Some people worry that after Chuck Feeney’s foundation is paying itself down there will be nothing left . What’s left when Atlantic Philanthropy leave Ireland?
O’B: Philanthropy in Ireland is different to here. Here people do it for tax reasons and they do it because they feel good about it and it’s very public. It’s a big bang approach to philanthropy. In Ireland there are certain levels, like large-scale philanthropy, and then the next level down, but people don’t really advertise it.
They’re not interested in getting a photo with a big check for a university or whatever. I’m involved in fundraising for UCD. There’s an incredible amount of philanthropy that has supported UCD and the reforms that President Hugh Brady has made. It’s the same in Limerick, and it’s the same all over the country. So people say, “Oh, there isn’t much philanthropy in Ireland…” There is, but it’s quieter..
O’D: People in Ireland – some people here too – complain about all the negativity, they have the view that everything that is reported in the media is overly negative
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What a sad,sad thing. There will be a lot emptiness in their homes at Christmas this year. I feel overwhelmed for them. I hope that they know that GodIrish drugs mule to escape full trial and benefit from early release in Peru
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keeping the focus on Ireland for once for me--the Government here got on a bandwagon of tax returns accruing from a building spree--this was incentivi