Gabriel Byrne and the Gathering 'shakedown'
A genuine effort to reconnect with the diaspora would be very welcome. Most people I’ve spoken to regarding the Gathering consider it superficial and desperate. I would rather invite my relations back under normal circumstances than to have some contrived Government-sponsored fundraising event.
It is indeed very tacky to go looking for Americans of Irish blood to come back to the old country when we are looking for tourists from anywhere. It’s shamefully superficial and typical of this government’s lack of dignity. Why don’t Enda Kenny and co . . . reduce their disgustingly high wages instead of trying to give a fake welcome to Irish Americans.
The certificate of Irishness is another example of how the diaspora are taken for a ride: €40 for a piece of paper . . . The “certificate of Irishness” should be something meaningful: like a visa waiver, or an exemption to college fees, or an entitlement to vote for a Seanad seat. The State needs to show the diaspora some respect – not just milk them. There’s only so much of this that people will take.
Aoife Elizabeth Butler
“The Gathering” is nothing but a term put on a phenomenon that already occurs naturally.
People travel to Ireland because people want to travel to Ireland, whether they are Irish or not; and “Gathering” or no “Gathering” that will not change – unless, of course, people feel they are being ripped off, taken advantage of, or not seeing the true Ireland they went to see.
A downturn in the global economy may impact the numbers travelling but some undefined “project” or “initiative” labelled “The Gathering” is not going to “save Ireland”.
Gabriel is like the guy who said the emperor is wearing no clothes . . . everything he says is true. Our culture, art and creativity, our innate and spontaneous friendliness is being cynically employed as a marketing tool to bring in a few more quid.
Top-level chugging for Ireland, I guess. If there’s one thing worse than being robbed, it’s being robbed at a professionally designed event engineered for just that purpose.
It’s shameful to see “Irish” being reduced to little more than a marketing-scam term and exploited by its own people.
It seems we’ve just become a nation of marketeers with little content of value. As Gabriel Byrne says, the diaspora are neglected, and Arts in Ireland is equally being trashed, seen as little more than another hollow marketing tool.
Unfortunately I have to agree with Gabriel Byrne. The very fact that the Gathering is being run by Tourism Ireland says it all.
If the government was serious about engaging with our diaspora they would first give the vote to Irish citizens living abroad. The reason the Government is afraid of giving voting rights to the diaspora is because the diaspora wouldn’t vote for the incumbent government/opposition cartel.
Here is a quote from Minister Varadkar, speaking at the launch of the Gathering, as reported, in this paper, March 8th , 2012: “The aim is to bring in an additional 300,000 or so extra visitors to Ireland that year, which would bring an extra €200 million in revenue into the economy . . .”
Anyway you paint it that looks like a €200 million shakedown to me. Well done Mr Byrne for stating the blindingly obvious.