Irish too often spurn Diaspora advice says top Wall Street figure

Adrian Jones

"Official Ireland needs to figure out precisely what it wants to do about the GIN and the Diaspora. Because there is still a great deal of good will. When I was in Dublin Castle at the GIN conference last year, there were people in that room who could help a great deal through different types of initiatives. But they are busy people and the goodwill isn’t going to last forever, and somebody needs to harness that. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there’s anybody in the Global Irish Network or the Diaspora who can change the rules under which the Irish government is trying to work right now or come up with something they haven’t already figured out; Ireland has very few strategic choices given the financial constraints it’s living under. But a great deal of what the Diaspora can do is at a micro level.

"There’s an opportunity to help shape future government policy and future regulation, and to provide some help in governance and oversight on public boards. They can contribute by helping the universities provide world-class education, by helping Irish entrepreneurs, by sitting on the boards of Irish companies and helping them expand into markets like this, which are brutally competitive and need local expertise. They can work with new immigrants – and there are going to be a lot more immigrants – to assimilate. There are huge opportunities like that for the network, but there has to be accountability and follow through."

Jones, a former Irish Army Officer who served in Lebanon before moving to America with his US born-wife Christina supports current government efforts to bail Ireland out. "I’m supportive of what the government is doing. I think this government inherited a very, very bad hand of cards. If people think the Obama administration inherited challenges, they should look at the Irish situation. I’ve met several of the members of the current government through the Global Irish Network (GIN) and when they come to New York, and I think that they are genuinely committed to doing the right thing, as they see it, to the absolute degree that they can."