Fintan O’Toole: Ireland is nobody’s little darling any more

We’ve lost our exotic allure without replacing it with the attraction of efficiency

At the announcement in London of the 2023 Rugby World Cup host were Irish bid chairman Dick Spring, Minister for Sport Shane Ross, Brian O’Driscoll and IRFU president Philip Orr. Photograph: Dave Rogers/Inpho/Getty Images

At the announcement in London of the 2023 Rugby World Cup host were Irish bid chairman Dick Spring, Minister for Sport Shane Ross, Brian O’Driscoll and IRFU president Philip Orr. Photograph: Dave Rogers/Inpho/Getty Images

We’re nobody’s darling any more. Last evening, Ireland failed in its much-hyped bid to have Dublin named as the new location for the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which must move its headquarters from London after Brexit. Dublin also failed to get the runners-up prize of the European Banking Authority’s headquarters. Last week, Ireland finished a distant third of the three contenders to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. An awful truth is surely dawning: the great welcome we have for ourselves is not entirely reciprocated even by our nearest neighbours. The currency of Irishness is dropping even faster than sterling on the international exchange of soft power.

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