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 W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)

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PostSubject: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:15 pm

Edo suggested in a thread that people needed to do a brutal SWOT exercise to explore Ireland's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunties and Threats.

This thread is to look at the biggest threats we face.

Quote :

The whole country needs to undertake a brutally honest S.W.O.T. analysis asap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis

Strengths thread
http://machinenation.forumakers.com/economy-business-and-finance-f8/s-ireland-s-biggest-strengths-swot-at-edo-s-suggestion-t1795.htm
Weaknesses thread
http://machinenation.forumakers.com/economy-business-and-finance-f8/w-biggest-weaknesses-in-ireland-swot-at-edo-s-suggestion-t1796.htm
Opportunities thread -
http://machinenation.forumakers.com/economy-business-and-finance-f8/o-ireland-s-biggest-opportunities-2008-2020-swot-edo-s-suggestion-t1153.htm
Threats thread
http://machinenation.forumakers.com/economy-business-and-finance-f8/t-biggest-threats-to-ireland-2008-2020-part-of-swot-at-edo-s-suggestion-t1794.htm


Last edited by cactus flower on Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:23 pm

Sorry I didn't look at wikipedia yet but I have to say this: we find it hard to work together and plan in this country. I think. Why is that if you agree? Really, we must simply find it easier to say NO or maybe we get some perverse kick out of it or something? Is it just cheap entertainment to begrudge and knock? Or is it jealousy and insecurity?

One more gripe: put an irishperson in a suit or management position and they turn into an asshole. The way I heard this was they become 'little Hitlers'. Do we need to smoke more POT to knock the power-tripping we're inclined to do when we get the opportunity???

People managment then - we are not very good at people management. We have tons of talent latent in the country but we can't seem to squeeze it out properly.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:37 pm

Sorry to keep going on about this, but I think Ireland's high minimum wage is a weakness in the wider EU context. Just like the price of Kerrygold butter is a weakness for Kerrygold. We are forcing employers to pay premium price for labour.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:39 pm

Respvblica postedWeaknesses:
-Island status - extra costs
-High Costs for business(labour costs)
-National policy in hands of sectional interest groups
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:40 pm

Considering the amount of them who don't pay the minimum wage EVM I'd wonder how big a problem that is.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:48 pm

Professionals are paid way over the EU odds - Medical Consultants at 700,000 euro plus here, 100,000 elsewhere.

Weaknesses -
small population
island location
historic disadvantage - recent development - chippy
sun never bloody comes out
losing our language
me feinism and parochialism, golden circles
religion
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:55 pm

Quote :
Professionals are paid way over the EU odds - Medical Consultants at 700,000 euro plus here, 100,000 elsewhere.
That's hardly a minimum wage requirement though. Surely pay for professionals is a product of market forces so it's not a fundamental or inherent problem? Though it may be a symptom of a problem.

Quote :
losing our language
I don't see how that puts us at any kind of disadvantage economically. As Papal pointed out, our English language is one of our main strengths.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:57 pm

How is religion a weakness of our society or economy, cactus? Also with evercloserunion on the language thing... you might think it is bad culturally and perhaps it is but if we were a bilingual country with English and Chinese as our two spoken languages we would be economically better off.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:06 am

johnfás wrote:
How is religion a weakness of our society or economy, cactus? Also with evercloserunion on the language thing... you might think it is bad culturally and perhaps it is but if we were a bilingual country with English and Chinese as our two spoken languages we would be economically better off.

I agree with johnfas. In what way is religion in Ireland in 2009 a weakness? Sure it could be a threat in some countries where there are violent fanatics, but as a weakness, how?

As to teh language, I think it is important that we maintain it. For our own identity if anything else. If it adds to a feeling of solidarity then it can only be a positive. Irish is never going to usurp English in Ireland and so long as people are not being kicked out of the country for not speaking it, then we would do well to keep it. Actually Irish can help us bridge betwen the mono-lingual anglo-saxon world and the multi-lingual EU.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:55 am

The biggest weakness as far as I can see is that we rely too much on basic low skilled jobs. Dell was just an assembly plant. Clonmel lost Seagate and it was a disaster for the town - it was aparently a dull place to work and was just simple componant assemble which anyone with minimal training could do.

These jobs are always going to go as costs rise and Eastern Europe/Asia develops the infastructure necessary to maintain the production plants. We can grip about globalisation all we want but it is here to stay. We have very few if any indigenous companies that perform R and D. Making computers is one thing but a successful economy should have businesses capable of design etc.

Its the same in Dublins much vaunted financial centre. We are a great back office location but back office staff are the plebs of the finance world. We perform the basic administration that enables the trading desk etc to make their money. These are stil located in Lodon. Back office started to drift here a decade ago and a lot will move to Singapore or India as firms cut costs and experiment with Global settlements offices. ireland was a location for many European settlements offices so its actually not much more difficult to consolodate these locations in far eastern locations where labour costs are a fraction of those of the west.

We cannot compete with india/poland on salaries and shouldn't try.

So basically, our weakness is not so much infastrucutre or rising costs of doing business so much as the actual drift of our FDO companies to the east. This was always going to happen and presumably the government should have bene aware of this.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 8:19 am

You could add to that the policy of utter dependence on FDI. FDI has its place in industrial policy but a total dependence on it was lunacy. And nobody epitomoses the failure of that policy more than Harney. She spent 7 years cutting ribbons between 1997 and 2004, seven years ignorining indiginious industry, seven years of neglect while performing the role of Minister of Good News. We now have the tools to measure the scale of that failure. And the failure is truly shocking.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:27 am

shutuplaura wrote:
The biggest weakness as far as I can see is that we rely too much on basic low skilled jobs. Dell was just an assembly plant. Clonmel lost Seagate and it was a disaster for the town - it was aparently a dull place to work and was just simple componant assemble which anyone with minimal training could do.

These jobs are always going to go as costs rise and Eastern Europe/Asia develops the infastructure necessary to maintain the production plants. We can grip about globalisation all we want but it is here to stay. We have very few if any indigenous companies that perform R and D. Making computers is one thing but a successful economy should have businesses capable of design etc.

Its the same in Dublins much vaunted financial centre. We are a great back office location but back office staff are the plebs of the finance world. We perform the basic administration that enables the trading desk etc to make their money. These are stil located in Lodon. Back office started to drift here a decade ago and a lot will move to Singapore or India as firms cut costs and experiment with Global settlements offices. ireland was a location for many European settlements offices so its actually not much more difficult to consolodate these locations in far eastern locations where labour costs are a fraction of those of the west.

We cannot compete with india/poland on salaries and shouldn't try.

So basically, our weakness is not so much infastrucutre or rising costs of doing business so much as the actual drift of our FDO companies to the east. This was always going to happen and presumably the government should have bene aware of this.

Arent we always going to have a sector of society that doesnt want to do highly complex tasks? Personally I know plenty of people who are not interested in work or education or furthering their career. Somewhere in the economy we need jobs where people can go in and do a bit of "labour" and walk out. Obviously they'll have to less well paid than before.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:03 pm

Personally, I believe that one of Ireland's major weaknesses is the Governmental structure it has. Basically, just about every decision in the country gets made by Centrally-controlled Government departments almost all of which are based within a couple of hundred metres of Leinster House. As such we have a really silly situation where decisions on trivial local issues in Kerry or Donegal get made by officials in the "Leinster House Zone". The political power to make meaningful decisions to try and fix problems at a local level is lacking as a result - instead such power is concentrated in the hands of "The Minister" who have a role that is part demi-God, part farce. Demi-God, in the sense, that the decision-making power is concentrated in the hands of one individual who can at a whim dispense the all-important money and necessary officials to tackle an issue (or not as the case maybe). Part Farce, in the sense, ministers are prisoners of this system because they are held personally liable for the slighest screw-up anywhere in the system. The Minister for Education, for example, will be to blame for over-crowding in a school in Waterford; the Minister for Health to blame for people on trolleys in Letterkenny hospital.

Contrast this with the system used in Switzerland - there, there is a strict delineation of powers - both functional and (most importantly) tax-raising - between the Federal (Central), Cantonal and Community (Local) levels. There, for example, police are organised on a Cantonal level (roughly equivalent to a County) and are directly responsible to Cantonal Government for their activites - as such, it is much more difficult to have a situation such as the recent Donegal cases where the local Gardai seemed to be operating independently of the rest of the Garda Siochana. Likewise, the local Communities have direct control over their local schools - they can line the floors of the schools with red carpet if they want, provided they (not someone else!) are prepared to pay for doing so. The Swiss system is admitedly extremely decentralised, but that also applies to a lesser extent to just about every State in the EU (The principle being Subsidarity which only pops up in Ireland in an EU, never a domestic, context).

Now, with the local elections only a few months away - presuming you were willing to enter public life and wanted to improve your local community - which system as a new councillor would you rather operate in? Our existing one - where you spend your time petitioning the Ministers and/or that other local Demi-God - the County Manager? Or one more akin to the Swiss one - where you'd have direct power to set policy for your local schools, have direct accountability over local Hospital Officials etc. and where you could raise/lower local taxes to pay for better services as the local community saw fit?
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:29 pm

Paul R wrote:
Personally, I believe that one of Ireland's major weaknesses is the Governmental structure it has. Basically, just about every decision in the country gets made by Centrally-controlled Government departments almost all of which are based within a couple of hundred metres of Leinster House. As such we have a really silly situation where decisions on trivial local issues in Kerry or Donegal get made by officials in the "Leinster House Zone". The political power to make meaningful decisions to try and fix problems at a local level is lacking as a result - instead such power is concentrated in the hands of "The Minister" who have a role that is part demi-God, part farce. Demi-God, in the sense, that the decision-making power is concentrated in the hands of one individual who can at a whim dispense the all-important money and necessary officials to tackle an issue (or not as the case maybe). Part Farce, in the sense, ministers are prisoners of this system because they are held personally liable for the slighest screw-up anywhere in the system. The Minister for Education, for example, will be to blame for over-crowding in a school in Waterford; the Minister for Health to blame for people on trolleys in Letterkenny hospital.

Contrast this with the system used in Switzerland - there, there is a strict delineation of powers - both functional and (most importantly) tax-raising - between the Federal (Central), Cantonal and Community (Local) levels. There, for example, police are organised on a Cantonal level (roughly equivalent to a County) and are directly responsible to Cantonal Government for their activites - as such, it is much more difficult to have a situation such as the recent Donegal cases where the local Gardai seemed to be operating independently of the rest of the Garda Siochana. Likewise, the local Communities have direct control over their local schools - they can line the floors of the schools with red carpet if they want, provided they (not someone else!) are prepared to pay for doing so. The Swiss system is admitedly extremely decentralised, but that also applies to a lesser extent to just about every State in the EU (The principle being Subsidarity which only pops up in Ireland in an EU, never a domestic, context).

Now, with the local elections only a few months away - presuming you were willing to enter public life and wanted to improve your local community - which system as a new councillor would you rather operate in? Our existing one - where you spend your time petitioning the Ministers and/or that other local Demi-God - the County Manager? Or one more akin to the Swiss one - where you'd have direct power to set policy for your local schools, have direct accountability over local Hospital Officials etc. and where you could raise/lower local taxes to pay for better services as the local community saw fit?
Good stuff. Feel free to continue in that vein.

One reason I'm interested in the Green Party is I believe they have ideas of reforming what you're talking about above. I don't think I'm even 10% aware of how it works but I get the whole gist of it that there's a disconnection in power somewhere. At the same time there is too much local power in some ways -- is it that councillors can only rezone land, they have no other power ? Or there are peculiar local structures that are not easy to bypass but could be centrally.

I'm not even very much aware of what the GP ideas are but I just don't hear anything similar from any other parties as far as I'm aware so if you or anyone knows anything then I'd like to hear it. I know they want powerful Mayors elected at particular populous locations - could that be a precursor for more devolved power? They suggested a Mayor for the Limerick region or the Shannon Region moreso but that would involved the mayors of Ennis, Shannon etc. having to give up their necklaces to one person in Limerick. Turkeys Christmas and all.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:42 pm

Power to the people right on!

Across the water localism is becoming an issue.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/blog/2007/05/23/join_the_localist_revolution

http://books.google.es/books?id=LJ5aYhMYRCsC&pg=PA89&lpg=PA89&dq=localist+papers+carswell+hannan&source=bl&ots=N_CAyZ1kaj&sig=De13hIb0rAzgSEDaZDH6entP6IU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result

Its going to come here - when i dont know. The present inefficient system is well protected in that it serves the interests of the gombeen men that rule us but if the UK starts moving towards a more equitable and accountable system, and start attracting business away from this country I expect that people will finally start to wake up and take note.

This is a dog eat dog world. A a republican and a democrat I am convinced of the superiority over direct democracy and devolution of power to the people on the ground over a centralised representatives. The more free and democratic the system, the more prosperous. When oh when are we going to wake up and realise that this is in our interests.

One of teh worst things that ever happened in this country was when FF abolished rates as an election gimick in 1977. They effectively destroyed local accountability.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:47 pm

Respvblica wrote:
Power to the people right on!

Across the water localism is becoming an issue.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/blog/2007/05/23/join_the_localist_revolution

http://books.google.es/books?id=LJ5aYhMYRCsC&pg=PA89&lpg=PA89&dq=localist+papers+carswell+hannan&source=bl&ots=N_CAyZ1kaj&sig=De13hIb0rAzgSEDaZDH6entP6IU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result

Its going to come here - when i dont know. The present inefficient system is well protected in that it serves the interests of the gombeen men that rule us but if the UK starts moving towards a more equitable and accountable system, and start attracting business away from this country I expect that people will finally start to wake up and take note.

This is a dog eat dog world. A a republican and a democrat I am convinced of the superiority over direct democracy and devolution of power to the people on the ground over a centralised representatives. The more free and democratic the system, the more prosperous. When oh when are we going to wake up and realise that this is in our interests.

One of teh worst things that ever happened in this country was when FF abolished rates as an election gimick in 1977. They effectively destroyed local accountability.

Which is why I live in Switzerland.


You are right about FF. This party is a by-word for planning corruption. When they emasculated the county and city councils in 1977, they were careful to allow planning decisions to be taken by councillors at council level. The political equivalent of giving whiskey and carkeys to teenagers.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 1:31 pm

Slim Buddha wrote:
Respvblica wrote:
Power to the people right on!

Across the water localism is becoming an issue.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/blog/2007/05/23/join_the_localist_revolution

http://books.google.es/books?id=LJ5aYhMYRCsC&pg=PA89&lpg=PA89&dq=localist+papers+carswell+hannan&source=bl&ots=N_CAyZ1kaj&sig=De13hIb0rAzgSEDaZDH6entP6IU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result

Its going to come here - when i dont know. The present inefficient system is well protected in that it serves the interests of the gombeen men that rule us but if the UK starts moving towards a more equitable and accountable system, and start attracting business away from this country I expect that people will finally start to wake up and take note.

This is a dog eat dog world. A a republican and a democrat I am convinced of the superiority over direct democracy and devolution of power to the people on the ground over a centralised representatives. The more free and democratic the system, the more prosperous. When oh when are we going to wake up and realise that this is in our interests.

One of teh worst things that ever happened in this country was when FF abolished rates as an election gimick in 1977. They effectively destroyed local accountability.

Which is why I live in Switzerland.


You are right about FF. This party is a by-word for planning corruption. When they emasculated the county and city councils in 1977, they were careful to allow planning decisions to be taken by councillors at council level. The political equivalent of giving whiskey and carkeys to teenagers.

The only way of getting teenagers through to adulthood is to give them responsibility. In my experience it is increasingly the elected reps who are getting it right on planning and while the paid officials cosy up with big developers.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:20 pm

our penchant for voting in Fianna Fail?
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:44 pm

johnfás wrote:
How is religion a weakness of our society or economy, cactus? Also with evercloserunion on the language thing... you might think it is bad culturally and perhaps it is but if we were a bilingual country with English and Chinese as our two spoken languages we would be economically better off.

Our fluency in English is generally seen as an unquestioned good. But it could be argued that, as with other English-speaking countries, it hampers our chances of learning other languages. Ireland is like most iother monoglot English countries. But it's a small 'what-if' to say that retention of Irish would have made us bilingual, and a huge 'what-if' to say that would ouweigh the advantages of speaking English.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Fri Jan 09, 2009 11:54 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Slim Buddha wrote:
Respvblica wrote:
Power to the people right on!

Across the water localism is becoming an issue.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/blog/2007/05/23/join_the_localist_revolution

http://books.google.es/books?id=LJ5aYhMYRCsC&pg=PA89&lpg=PA89&dq=localist+papers+carswell+hannan&source=bl&ots=N_CAyZ1kaj&sig=De13hIb0rAzgSEDaZDH6entP6IU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result

Its going to come here - when i dont know. The present inefficient system is well protected in that it serves the interests of the gombeen men that rule us but if the UK starts moving towards a more equitable and accountable system, and start attracting business away from this country I expect that people will finally start to wake up and take note.

This is a dog eat dog world. A a republican and a democrat I am convinced of the superiority over direct democracy and devolution of power to the people on the ground over a centralised representatives. The more free and democratic the system, the more prosperous. When oh when are we going to wake up and realise that this is in our interests.

One of teh worst things that ever happened in this country was when FF abolished rates as an election gimick in 1977. They effectively destroyed local accountability.

Which is why I live in Switzerland.


You are right about FF. This party is a by-word for planning corruption. When they emasculated the county and city councils in 1977, they were careful to allow planning decisions to be taken by councillors at council level. The political equivalent of giving whiskey and carkeys to teenagers.

The only way of getting teenagers through to adulthood is to give them responsibility. In my experience it is increasingly the elected reps who are getting it right on planning and while the paid officials cosy up with big developers.

I think Slim makes a great point there. As to the reputation of the elected, perhaps it pays that they play the good cop routine. At least it looks like they are trying.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:03 am

Respvblica, if you want direct democracy and devolution of power, surely you need good local elected representatives? If voters persist in electing people on the basis of hoping to jump a queue for an operation or house, or get a job or planning permission they will get corrupt councillors. Government has used peoples legitimate dislike of the end results to reduce the powers of local government and centralise them. If a few more people stood for election on the basis of giving honest representation to the community as a whole that would be more to the point.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:00 am

Respvblica wrote:

Arent we always going to have a sector of society that doesnt want to do highly complex tasks? Personally I know plenty of people who are not interested in work or education or furthering their career. Somewhere in the economy we need jobs where people can go in and do a bit of "labour" and walk out. Obviously they'll have to less well paid than before.

Sure there is, and there will always be unskilled jobs for people to do. But building an economy based around the FDI in low skill jobs just won't work for Ireland, or any other relatively well off western country. Its a great way to play catch up but nothing else as these firms - naturally in my opinion will always follow cheap labour.

To compete with india or even eastern europe just isn't an option and trying to reduce wages to allow ireland compete with these country would entail a massive drop in living standards. I mean labour in Australia is probably cheaper than in Ireland. Houses certianly are a hell of a lot cheaper, bt Australia couldn't compete with these countries. A drop in living standards would take a cataclysmic event or a serious prolonged depression.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:36 am

This is based purely on my own perception and experience.

Ireland is a country of what was described by Scott Peck of Road less Traveled fame as "Rugged individuals". We have an extremely weak perception of any responsibility to our fellow citizen and we don't do the shared citizenship thing at all, really. I've been involved in local politics for ten years and the most common thing that I hear at the door is "What will they do for me?". I didn't go into politics for porkbarrelism but that's the way an awful lot of people think. I have drawn my own conclusion about the ability of any of us to effect structural change here. Not possible.

Irish Nationality is strongly felt but it is defined as being on football terms. "We are Irish and we are great" could be one way of summing it up. Terence Trent D'Arby inadvertently caught it in one though when he was a tax exile and blew his career by making a great but incredibly self indulgent album by stating that "Ireland is the world's smallest country with the world's biggest ego". Most of us really believe that the world is on standby waiting to hear our every word.

In addition, groupthink is engendered here. Witness politics.ie currently working itself into a lather over Israel and Palestine. One poster has appointed themselves as the thought police for everyone else, and intends to go into shops next Saturday to "educate" the shoppers and owners if they have even the smidgen of Israeli produce there.

As for the recreation of the Irish language as the real first official language of this country, we are wasting our time. No amount of teenage gaelgoirs slapping "Gaeilge Anois!" stickers on road signs will change this. It is an annoyance and an utter waste of time. We would be better off consolidating as best we can those places that do use the language in reality, shore it up and rethink the whole project. Irish language and culture are worthwhile, but Irish is not and never will be the spoken language of this nation again.

Our relative size mitigates against us in trying to create a more egalitarian and fairer society. In a small country with a small population, we cannot stand by ourselves and create a welfare state and a just society, we need the backup of a larger entity like the European Union. However, our own little Irelanders have slapped Europe in the face and no one outside Ireland that I can think of with any intelligence or without an ultra left wing agenda understands the frenzy we whipped ourselves into over imagined conscription or military alliances, as if the military was the only industry of any size in say France, Germany or Britain and was the driver of the European Union.

Irish freedom was a great thing but inevitably our own Gombeen men took over. It is more than disingenous to think that only those on the Pro treaty side sold out the Revolution. There is a long and inglorious history of small business people who exploited the hell out of their workers in the long years between independence and prosperity. Most of those were eating the altar rails and provided most of those who lorded it over the ordinary people of Ireland in the civil service, the teaching profession, the medical profession and the police. In turn, as Kevin O'Higgins noted, we were the most conservative revolutionaries ever to succeed in overthrowing a government. Look at just how hard the oldest generation are. No loans, no softness or no comfort ever informed their lives and they would virtually cut each other's throats for the smallest of reasons. There is a long hard tradition behind the land hunger that still created the property bubble. We didn't lick it off the stones, our great grandparents and grandparents and parents created the road map that we followed religiously.

There is a remarkable intolerance for difference here. I am reminded of the comment made to me once that the English father of someone who was very important to me once upon a time. "Marjorie's people have been here for three hundred and fifty years and the locals still think of them as blow-ins". We do not tolerate the "stranger" in reality and our recent immigrants will have had plenty of chance to see the iron behind the bull of "Cead Mile Failte". Unless you keep your head down and don't cross those who see themselves as the pure ones you will have a hard life. No wonder there is a sean-fhocail of "Whatever you say, say nothing". Cuteness and smartness rules the roost and a great survival tactic here is never, ever wear your heart on your sleeve if you ever break any of the cosy consensus rules that keeps this small place on the edge of the Atlantic going.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:57 am

Ronald Binge wrote:
This is based purely on my own perception and experience.

Ireland is a country of what was described by Scott Peck of Road less Traveled fame as "Rugged individuals". We have an extremely weak perception of any responsibility to our fellow citizen and we don't do the shared citizenship thing at all, really. I've been involved in local politics for ten years and the most common thing that I hear at the door is "What will they do for me?". I didn't go into politics for porkbarrelism but that's the way an awful lot of people think. I have drawn my own conclusion about the ability of any of us to effect structural change here. Not possible.

Irish Nationality is strongly felt but it is defined as being on football terms. "We are Irish and we are great" could be one way of summing it up. Terence Trent D'Arby inadvertently caught it in one though when he was a tax exile and blew his career by making a great but incredibly self indulgent album by stating that "Ireland is the world's smallest country with the world's biggest ego". Most of us really believe that the world is on standby waiting to hear our every word.

In addition, groupthink is engendered here. Witness politics.ie currently working itself into a lather over Israel and Palestine. One poster has appointed themselves as the thought police for everyone else, and intends to go into shops next Saturday to "educate" the shoppers and owners if they have even the smidgen of Israeli produce there.

As for the recreation of the Irish language as the real first official language of this country, we are wasting our time. No amount of teenage gaelgoirs slapping "Gaeilge Anois!" stickers on road signs will change this. It is an annoyance and an utter waste of time. We would be better off consolidating as best we can those places that do use the language in reality, shore it up and rethink the whole project. Irish language and culture are worthwhile, but Irish is not and never will be the spoken language of this nation again.

Our relative size mitigates against us in trying to create a more egalitarian and fairer society. In a small country with a small population, we cannot stand by ourselves and create a welfare state and a just society, we need the backup of a larger entity like the European Union. However, our own little Irelanders have slapped Europe in the face and no one outside Ireland that I can think of with any intelligence or without an ultra left wing agenda understands the frenzy we whipped ourselves into over imagined conscription or military alliances, as if the military was the only industry of any size in say France, Germany or Britain and was the driver of the European Union.

Irish freedom was a great thing but inevitably our own Gombeen men took over. It is more than disingenous to think that only those on the Pro treaty side sold out the Revolution. There is a long and inglorious history of small business people who exploited the hell out of their workers in the long years between independence and prosperity. Most of those were eating the altar rails and provided most of those who lorded it over the ordinary people of Ireland in the civil service, the teaching profession, the medical profession and the police. In turn, as Kevin O'Higgins noted, we were the most conservative revolutionaries ever to succeed in overthrowing a government. Look at just how hard the oldest generation are. No loans, no softness or no comfort ever informed their lives and they would virtually cut each other's throats for the smallest of reasons. There is a long hard tradition behind the land hunger that still created the property bubble. We didn't lick it off the stones, our great grandparents and grandparents and parents created the road map that we followed religiously.

There is a remarkable intolerance for difference here. I am reminded of the comment made to me once that the English father of someone who was very important to me once upon a time. "Marjorie's people have been here for three hundred and fifty years and the locals still think of them as blow-ins". We do not tolerate the "stranger" in reality and our recent immigrants will have had plenty of chance to see the iron behind the bull of "Cead Mile Failte". Unless you keep your head down and don't cross those who see themselves as the pure ones you will have a hard life. No wonder there is a sean-fhocail of "Whatever you say, say nothing". Cuteness and smartness rules the roost and a great survival tactic here is never, ever wear your heart on your sleeve if you ever break any of the cosy consensus rules that keeps this small place on the edge of the Atlantic going.

Feck me but that would blow the cobwebs off. Lots of harshness and lots of truth there Mr. Binge.
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PostSubject: Re: W - Biggest Weaknesses in Ireland - SWOT (at Edo's suggestion)   Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:08 am

Seconded, with the rights reserved to argue over paras. four and five. Very Happy
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