Starting Point (Election Archive 2011)

After two decades of growth somehow we’re in an awful mess and the economy is badly broken. The question is, “What are we going to do now?” We can turn it around but we can’t do business as usual any more. Ireland is in serious trouble but there is still hope.

For me there are three main issues:

  1. In the short term, we need to deal with the unpleasant realities of the crisis. Pious soundbites and angry shouting won’t help us. We can recover but we must make the right choices – now.
  2. Then, what kind of country do we want to be? Do we want to be an Atlantic Denmark or a European Connecticut? Can we be prosperous, liberal, and well run? I believe we can. I don’t believe that we have to choose between Boston and Berlin. We can have the best of both.
  3. However, to get there we need good government in Ireland. Major constitutional changes are needed. Meantime changing the Dail Standing Orders will be a good start.

Again, I believe in Ireland. There’s real reason for hope because some of the clichés about Ireland are actually true.

  • We have a comparatively young, well educated workforce.
  • We have an attractive environment for major investors.
  • We’re a small, nimble country on the edge of a major market.
  • We have fertile farmland, fantastic scenery, friendly cities and unbreakable people.
  • Despite our recent PR disaster, the world still likes the Irish.

These are national assets that we should not underestimate. Even the sadness of emigration can be recovered if we build an economy worth coming back to. Amid the gloom, hope is appropriate.

Like anger, hope is not a plan. We need a plan too. My main thoughts are on the next page.


Solving the crisis demands fresh thinking

Restoring our democracy needs independent voices

Building Ireland’s future requires new faces


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