Wednesday 28 September 2016

When proud Paddy comes out to play, there's no ignoring us

Enda unveils Inner Eejit but at this time of year the world listens – after all, everyone wants to be Irish

Published 16/03/2014 | 02:30

Supporters cheer Ireland's players during their Six Nations rugby union match against France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, near Paris, March 15, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Supporters cheer Ireland's players during their Six Nations rugby union match against France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, near Paris, March 15, 2014. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

'Call me any time. . ." There have been suggestions that in declaring his phone line open, Enda Kenny has once again let his Inner Eejit off the leash, as we are all obliged to do at this time of year.

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It may be more complicated than that. It must be borne in mind that when he said he would take a call, any time, he was not talking to the lunchtime drinkers at the bar of The Beaten Docket in Cricklewood.

It was the US Chamber of Commerce he was addressing, and as such, the Taoiseach was probably telling them something they already know – that if you're wealthy or influential enough, you can indeed call him any time.

It was like a room full of Frank Flannerys there, with Enda shelling out the backstage passes.

They can indeed call him, any time – ah, but can he call them, any time?

That mightn't be so easy. The top, top people are not exactly available around the clock to every two-bit prime minister. But as we understand the balance of power in these relationships, the Taoiseach could make a formal request for some face time with a CEO or maybe a vice-president – and a window might be found somewhere down the line and who knows? Paddy might get lucky.

So this was no more than a statement of how the world works, yet it also sounded like the Inner Eejit talking, with its weird connotations of Enda as the operator of Irish Psychics Live or some such premium rate line.

This is how it goes, when Paddy comes out to play. In these days of our national feasting, we throw everything at it, and the results can be a tad unsettling.

That Failte Ireland /Inspire Ireland video which has been described as fantastic and gorgeous, boasts that "Ireland is the first eurozone country to successfully exit an economic assistance programme". While that seems quite exciting to our image-makers right now, it may be a challenge to our poets to proclaim that "bliss it was that dawn to be alive, but to be exiting an economic assistance programme was very heaven".

And even as the beautiful voice of James Vincent McMorrow sings Higher Love, written by and originally a hit for the Englishman Steve Winwood (Failte Ireland would know of course that Steve Winwood is English, wouldn't they?) we make it clear to everyone who matters that what we're running here, is a tax haven.

A Forbes quote about Ireland being "the best country in the world to do business", allied to a mention of the tech companies, and even a cute little line about the "adaptability of our workforce" would reassure even the most rampant of foreign investors that they have absolutely nothing to fear from Paddy.

Nor would these guys be over-awed by our "24 Olympic medals" – the American swimmer Michael Phelps alone has 22 – and as for the declaration that "Newgrange is older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge", this could simply mean that we've been reducing everything to ruins longer than anyone else.

In the more creative areas, the video is, well, creative. Ireland is "the birthplace of 14 Oscar winners", a statement which is accompanied by footage of Daniel Day-Lewis. Now Failte Ireland (in co-operation with the Department of Foreign Affairs) would know of course that Ireland is not actually the birthplace of Daniel Day-Lewis, wouldn't they? I mean it's even there in the first few lines of his Wikipedia biography – he was "born and raised in London".

So they're being. . . well, they're just being Irish, and sure, doesn't everyone want to be Irish at this special time? Nor would we mind in the slightest, if it was turned around so that England was bragging about one of ours. Not. In. The. Slightest.

"We're on our way", the inspirational video concludes. Lord knows, they'll see us coming.

Sunday Independent

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