|Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore|
In a media environment hungry for scandal, sensation and skulduggery, good news often seems like no news at all. Especially in a country stuck in a boggy mire of fear and self-loathing.
But just like the Mayans were proved to be overly pessimistic about the long-term survival of planet earth, the merchants of doom cheerleading the negative and ignoring the positive when it comes to Ireland’s revival look likely to be proved wrong in 2013.
Just several days into the New Year and many who have cut a figure of dourness over the past several years have now a noticeable pep in their step.
Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Eamon Gilmore, who is not know for his exuberance, was telling all who would listen that we will finally be waving goodbye to the recession come the end of the year.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton believes the flood of job losses we have suffered has finally been stemmed. While, to top it all off, a rise in tax returns means that the Government coffers got an unexpected boost of €2.6bn.
Ireland is recovering. And while it will be a slow, gradual recovery, our economy is very well placed for long-term sustainable growth. And while we won’t reach the insane highs of the bubble, nor will we overly rely on the property and construction industry to over-inflate our expectations.
Indeed, over the past year the rest of Europe has been looking at the Irish economy with envy. We have learnt from our mistakes, took the harsh actions needed and now we are on the comeback. But Bill Clinton was right when he said that the world thinks more of the Irish than the Irish think of themselves.
“I know a lot of people in Ireland are discouraged,” President Clinton said back in 2011, “but the rest of the world thinks you’re pretty great.”
And now it is time for the rest of us to embrace this positivity and realize that post-Celtic tiger Ireland will be a leaner, and far fitter economic machine that is primed to thrive.
The core fundamentals of the economy are strong and will soon fuel growth once the burden of the banking crisis is eased. Foreign direct investment is also still as strong as ever, with a who’s who of the hi-tech and pharmaceutical elite doing business in Ireland, much to the envy of our international competitors.
And they are not just here for the tax breaks. With our well-educated, flexible and skilled workforce, companies like Google and Intel would not waste their time making such huge investments in innovation here. Indeed, while we were all crying a river for our demise, companies such as Twitter were busily setting up shop in Ireland confident of our bouncebackability (to rob a sporting term).
The Gathering will also provide us with the platform to embrace and strengthen our ties with the Irish Diaspora, whose importance has for too long gone unrecognized This will give us the opportunity to re-energise and look to the future.
The rest of the world has been recognizing our success in turning things around. But while our Taoiseach was gracing the front of Time magazine and being presented with the Golden Viktoria European of the Year Award in Berlin, the rest of Ireland sneered.
But the fact is that despite our failings Ireland is the greatest little country in the world. But tell that to an Irish person and, sadly, they’ll ridicule you.
Paul Allen is Managing Director of Paul Allen and Associates PR, www.prireland.com.