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Campaign postcards gathering only dust

It's been pilloried by actor Gabriel Byrne, who has described it as a scam and a shake-down of Irish-Americans.

But the Government is still pinning its hopes on the Gathering next year as a means of luring an additional 325,000 tourists to the country.

The marketing campaign has begun in earnest. Earlier this month, Tourism Ireland boss Niall Gibbons was at a major trade show in London trying to drum up interest in the year-long event.

Others are also on board, with Aer Lingus about to announce a major sporting event that will take place next September.

Ryanair has said it won't be laying on extra flights for the event, however.

Naturally enough, the public is being urged to encourage family members and whatever long-lost cousins they can track down to come and visit the old sod next year.

And so in pops a flier through the Punt's letterbox. "Who's coming over for your gathering . . ." it asks without a question mark.

"All it takes is a personal invitation to a friend or loved one overseas to come and visit Ireland in 2013," it says, including a photo of a smiling gang replete with Aran jumpers.

"To make it even easier here are two postcard invitations!" Well, what would have made it easier is if those postcards had prepaid postage, which they don't.

The Punt wonders how many of the postcards will actually wing their way around the world and how many will languish, stuffed in the letter pile.

One suspects the latter may be the majority's fate.

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