The Irish financial crisis and the little people -- or how silly Irish stereotypes are being trotted out again


Lord save us but the Saturday headline in the Boston Herald "Irish Bostonians raise cash for troubled Eire" made me wonder f I hadn't stepped back into a previous age.

Sure, Ireland is in trouble but intimating that Bostonians are rushing to help the tattered peasants over there reads like a plot from a Dickens novel, not reality.

I find the use of the word Eire, very annoying. Ireland has not been Eire since the declaration of the Irish Republic in 1949.

Why it persists I don't know.

It is like calling New York, New Amsterdam just because it was once called that.

The dinner they are talking about is the American Ireland Fund one, which has raised hundreds of millions over the years and is one of the biggest in the country.

But I'm sure the Fund itself would be deeply reluctant to see itself cast in this light, as raising funds for the poor beggars back in Ireland.

By any standard, IMF not withstanding, Ireland is one of the most prosperous countries in the world. The crisis there is one of excess, not of want.

Yes the country will have to readjust its sky high living standards and yes, they have acted incredibly stupidly, but there are no people starving and dying of malnutrition.

The great feast may have become a beggar's banquet with the IMF paying the bill but it is far from a national holocaust.

It is amazing how quickly the stereotypes revive.

I was on National Public Radio yesterday and the interviewer was all soulful and insisted on quoting Yeats at length and wondering what the great man would make of it all.

It is available here at www.thetakeaway.org/2010/nov/19/many-irish-unhappy-prospect-eu-bailout/?

I'm not sure and I really don't care what Yeats would think.

But it would be nice not to be viewed eternally through some Celtic twilight haze however.

Equally, 'Newsnight' a major BBC current affairs program featured Ireland as some shangri-la land with shebeens and leprechauns abounding and graphics to match.

Can't we get serious here people and report factually rather than this kind of malarkey?

Ireland is facing a deep economic crisis but the country has not suddenly regressed to a Darby O'Gill landscape.

We need to get that message out.

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