Thursday 22 March 2018

Insularity is not path to recovery

One of the more curious developments in Irish public life during the Tiger era was the evolution of an unprecedented level of insularity amongst our governing elite.

The increasingly inward looking nature of Fianna Fail was all the more surprising for it was Sean Lemass who in the 1960s correctly divined that remaining outside Europe would condemn us in perpetuity to a position of economic inferiority and leave us "as a beggar amongst the nations seeking to maintain a dying economy on the crumbs of charity from our wealthy neighbours''.

Now, five decades later, Ireland must look to the world rather than just Europe if we are to avoid a similar fate. Fortunately, after the hubris of the Tiger, we and Enda Kenny are more aware not just of our place in the world but of the need to actually create a footprint there. Sadly, it is hard to change some habits for there was something typically Irish in how, having briefly basked in the apparent success of the Chinese visit, our instinctive response was one of suspicion about their interest.

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