Monday 5 December 2016

Why my notepad was just Gathering dust at think-in

The Global Irish Economic Forum was more elitist than the Seanad, found a frustrated Carol Hunt

Published 06/10/2013 | 05:00

Norah Casey at The Gathering Conference at at the Global Irish Network Conference at Dublin Castle, yesterday.
Norah Casey at The Gathering Conference at at the Global Irish Network Conference at Dublin Castle, yesterday.

IT seemed that where The Gathering was concerned I'd missed the boat. Or at least that's how it felt when I queried if it was possible to go sit with the real people and ask minister Leo Varadkar a question or two.

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I'd been under the sad delusion that the Global Irish Economic Forum was a fairly open affair – it was taking place in our State-owned Dublin Castle and was paid for by our Department of Foreign Affairs. (Although network members travel at their own expense and give their time free). I'd never thought that it was – as detractors had suggested – an elitist affair comprised in the main of rich emigrants gaining access to our politicians and telling the peasants what they should do. (The Global Irish Network was launched in 2010 and is made up of more than 350 super successful Irish and diaspora-Irish business people).

Of course I wasn't so naive as to think that punters could just walk in off the street but I didn't expect the level of paranoia exhibited by my new BFs every time I tried to approach a member of the Global Irish Network or ask a question of any of the politicians or businesspeople attending the discussions.

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