President Bill Clinton’s speech to the Irish Diaspora forum in Dublin at the weekend has already gone down in history.
During the course of it he pledged to hold a similar economic forum for Irish American business in New York in 2012.
His remarks, quoted in part below, also sought to lift irish spirits after the recent deep recession.
“I think right now, the world thinks more of Ireland than many Irish think of their own country
What we have to decide is whether it’s a future of shared benefits and shared responsibilities or a winner-take-all future.
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This is a small country that loves its past but there’s a difference in knowing it and feeling it . . . Start conducting a huge number of oral histories, starting with people over 80 . . . so they can tell the story of how Ireland emerged from abject poverty to the fastest growing economy in Europe . . . And publicise it widely because too many young people feel like a failure because they have never known collective failure.
The last big decision you’ve got is what are you gonna do about the mortgage deal. The quicker you flush that out, the quicker you’re going to generate small business and domestic demand and growth.
Everybody in the world thinks you’ve done an unbelievable job of managing a miserable situation – but that’s cold comfort for the people who haven’t enough money to buy a suit let alone make a mortgage payment and are worried they’ll never have a job . . . You have to go get those people because you need them too. All of them.”
The only real cloud hanging over you is you’re still pretty dependent on exports to Europe . . . You’re good at exporting . . . China is not the only rising economy . . . You can do a lot for the Indians . . . Brazil is the most environmentally responsible big rising country on earth . . .
American companies now have two trillion dollars in cash reserves . . . You ought to target the companies that you know are rolling in dough.
People like us, we’re sort of professional Irish-Americans. We’re never happier in America than when we go to some Irish event and we tell each other what good Irish people we are and how much we love it. It’s like when we don’t do it, we have DTs or something . . .
You think you have a lot of tourists, but you could get a lot more . . . Dublin before the crash was the 16th most expensive city in the world, it’s now 43rd. That may be a bummer for a lot of you but it’s a marketing tool that you ought to be able to use . . . You already paid the misery, you might as well get some of the advantage of it.
Don’t spend all your time trying to keep bad things from happening. Spend lots of time trying to make good things happen.