Irish too often spurn Diaspora advice says top Wall Street figure
Irish in Ireland need to include Irish abroad says top advisor
A senior Goldman Sachs figure and Irish government advisor on American projects has stated that Ireland needs to decide what it wants to do about its Diaspora and that he feels the Irish are deeply conflicted about their emigrants.
Adrian Jones, a Roscommon native and managing director at Goldman where he co-heads the firm’s America's equities business, was honoree this week at this year's Irish America Magazine Wall Street 50.
In an interview with Sheila Langan in the magazine he stated;
"Over the ten years leading up to 2008, 2009, Irish people were very badly let down by their government and by their public servants. You had a classic credit bubble that was allowed to build to epic proportions. There was a tremendous amount of groupthink, and it became an extremely difficult environment for somebody to go against the grain.
"I think one of the challenges of a very small country, particularly a cohesive, homogenous, small country, is that it is very difficult to speak out, particularly when there are so many vested interests who are very focused on keeping things moving in one particular direction. And, very unfortunately, that’s what developed in Ireland.
He says as a result of this the Irish are wary of their emigrants
"I think Irish people, generally, are a little wary of emigrants. Emigration is so much part of Irish life. We speak very well of people who go away and do well. But we get a little concerned when those people come back and tell us how things could have been done better. As Richard Harris tells Tom Berenger in [the film version of] The Field, “Go home, Yank. Go home.” There’s an element of that in Irish life. And I think official Ireland – and by that I mean not the agencies but Dublin, be it government or public sector – is struggling to figure out the next leg of this Diaspora thing."
He stated there was a European bias in Ireland that militated against the American Irish contribution.
"Official Ireland is very European focused. They’ve been working as part of the ECC and then the EU since 1973. This may sound politically incorrect, but the vast majority of the Irish Diaspora that can have any influence on the situation is in the United States, and to some degree in the U.K. So you’ve got a bit of a challenge in that you’ve got public sector, European-focused official Ireland trying to figure out what to do about private sector, U.S.-based ex-pats, and official Ireland seems to me a lot more focused on how to control this as distinct from how to enable it."
Speaking about the Diaspora initiative launched by the government he stated "I think the Irish agencies abroad have for many years been very effective at leveraging the Diaspora – long before we even called it the Diaspora. They’ve always been thoughtful, smart and creative at figuring out ways that they can use relationships to help Irish companies, to find investment for Ireland.
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