New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's take on all things Irish
You’ve been to Ireland several times. What’s your lasting memory?
Well, I did have a six and a half hour dinner at Bono’s with Penelope Cruz sitting across the table from me -- I’ll remember that! Javier Bardem was there but I didn’t know who he was!
Bono’s a great guy. It was his daughter’s birthday, and back in New York it was my oldest daughter’s birthday, so he grabbed my phone...
Your daughter had an Irish boyfriend?
That’s the younger one. She dumped him. The latest one is English who was born in Philadelphia. She’s in Europe, and wants to go to Ascot because he’s in the horse business. She said, ‘Where do I go to buy a hat?’ I said, ‘Your mother’s English, call her and ask her.’
But I think, seriously, you walk away with a feeling of determination, rational, reasonableness. When I drive down the street, I look for a few things. I think how many blocks can you go before you see a piece of trash in the streets? And do people have smiles on their faces?
And you see a lot of smiles in Ireland, and in the North. Nobody has got this grimace on their face, the nasty look, they seem reasonable. But nice people.
It’s a western place, friendly, typical, hard-working. My former wife is British. Her father was a career officer in the RAF and he used to talk about the difference in people in the U.K. They don’t move very easily if their job is an hour away. They’d say, ‘Oh there’s no jobs.’
(In Ireland,), it’s not a culture where they sit back and depend on the government to do things. There’s an understanding that you’re responsible for your own success.
So are you convinced that they will come out of this recession?
Yeah. Something will happen, I don’t know when. I just don’t know what it takes to get Ireland out of this. They don’t have a lot of the over-building Spain has. Spain has got a much bigger problem.
They do have the advantage of a culture and the language. The only danger in Northern Ireland is the peace thing.
But overall, it’s an exporting country and if the rest of the world slowly stops buying things, because the leverage of a smaller country, they get badly hurt.
I’m more optimistic on America in the very short term. Actually England has a bigger problem that Ireland. It’s not obviously in percentages, but England has a lot of over-building.
What are your priorities for your new term, if you are elected?
Number one -- continue the schools, and the one thing we can do to eliminate or ameliorate most of our social problems is a better education.
Somebody once said to (New York City schools chancellor) Joel Klein, “They’ll never fix education until you end poverty.’ And he said, ‘No no, you got it wrong, you’ll never end poverty until you fix education.’
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To be fair, most American words and slang came FROM Ireland to begin with. I plan to visit Ireland and learn as much as possible. Can't wait.New Northern Ireland flag is not an option, loyalists tell Richard Haass
I think we have enough flags in Ireland as it is.Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent says Immigrant Council
@Chuck: My point is that immigrants who are willing to work for low wages are not to be demonised but rather be pitied and/or admired. It's the greedyHow Christmas was in my father’s time
molliebawn, many many kids in rural Ireland used to share shoes or only wore them for special occasions so as not to ruin them or wear them out too fa