Tuesday 20 August 2019

17 reasons Ireland will be more cheerful in brighter, better 2017

'Let's remind ourselves of all the positives, and that we are indeed a great little country, making a unique impact at home and abroad.'
'Let's remind ourselves of all the positives, and that we are indeed a great little country, making a unique impact at home and abroad.'

Miriam Donohoe

It was a year of living dangerously, a year with drastic changes in global politics which changed our relatively safe, secure world order.

America elected a sexist, racist, unpredictable, volatile, tweeting property tycoon to the White House.

The British also did the unthinkable and voted to exit the EU.

In France, the far right made huge political strides with the emergence of Marine Le Pen as a real contender for president.

It was a year when the world's leaders shamefully watched from the sidelines as thousands of innocent men, women and children were slaughtered in the siege of Aleppo.

Back home, we had our own political upheaval, with a patched-together partnership Government finally taking office after an inconclusive General Election result.

While our economic recovery continued steadily, 2016 ended with more children than ever living homeless.

This has all been great fodder for the doomsayers who are predicting Armageddon.

But acknowledging that life will continue to be very tough for so many, Ireland has an awful lot going for it in 2017.

Let's remind ourselves of all the positives, and that we are indeed a great little country, making a unique impact at home and abroad.

Here are 17 reasons to be positive about Ireland for 2017 - #Positiveireland.

1 A good start is we survived 2016! 100 years after the Easter Rising we can finally let go of the burden of history.

2 While the resilience of the Irish economy is going to be tested, Ernst and Young are forecasting growth of 2.7pc and a further reduction in unemployment.

Our entrepreneurial spirit will continue to flourish with the Local Enterprise Offices working hard to foster that spirit through the Student Enterprise Awards, won this year by 17-year-old Luke Byrne from Wicklow, with his nifty Headphone Helpers.

This simple product stops headphones annoyingly getting tangled as you walk or run.

A genius product set to take off this year.

3 The skyline will be full of cranes again as the construction industry is set to boom with €17.8bn of building projects expected to be delivered.

4 We have Al Porter. A gem.

A talented entertainer who not only makes us laugh, but who in 2016 bravely and eloquently shared his journey with depression, offering a beacon of light to so many who are suffering with mental illness.

5 The rate of emigration is to slow further, with 110,000 workers to be wooed home to meet the targets set out in Government strategies for homebuilding, infrastructure and foreign direct investment.

6 After years of Eurovision embarrassment we could hit the high notes again.

Ireland's entrant for Eurovision 2017 in Kiev, Ukraine, is Brendan Murray, ex-member of boyband Hometown.

He was born in 1996, the last time Ireland won. A good omen perhaps?

7 Ireland will continue to lead the way for gay rights.

A group overseeing the development of a National LGBT Youth Strategy starts its work early in 2017.

The 'Queen of Ireland', our very own Panti Bliss, is bringing her stage show to Brisbane's MELT Festival, which will celebrate genders, sexual orientations, ages, ethnicities and abilities.

8 Our creative talent will continue to shine, especially on the big screen.

2017 will start with several Irish Golden Globe nominees, including Ruth Negga for Best Actress in 'Loving', John Carney for directing 'Sing Street'; Colin Farrell for Best Comedy Actor for his role in 'Lobster', and Caitriona Balfe for Best Actress in a TV Series Drama for 'Outlander'.

9 After years of reductions and shrinking take-home pay, public sector wages will finally start to increase.

10 At last the long-awaited new Luas line connecting the red and green lines will be complete, making travelling across Dublin city much easier.

11 We don't live in Brexit Britain.

12 This could be the year when we see cannabis for medicinal purposes legalised, with moves to have the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016 make its way through the Dáil, led by the right-to-die and carer campaigner, Tom Curran.

13 Irish people will continue to have a good heart and be generous to those in need abroad.

We can continue to be proud of our peacekeepers who are to lead in an Irish-Finnish battalion in the Lebanon.

14 Another boom year is predicted for tourism, after a record 10.5 million people visited Ireland in 2016, spending €5.4bn in the process.

It's official! The world's coolest place is, according to National Geographic, Donegal.

15 Ireland has still escaped the anti-immigrant prejudice gathering momentum by the far right around the world.

While we could do better, we are still a country that welcomes the less fortunate to our shores.

16 There is some hope that the Government will finally get its act together and implement policy that will reduce our increasing and shameful homeless problem.

17 Finally, Kilkenny will reclaim the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

(Okay, I declare I am a Cat!)

Irish Independent

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