The race for the Park

 

Madam, – The fact that Walter Ellis (Opinion, June 15th) saw fit to castigate me for celebrating St Patrick’s Day in my publications among many other alleged flaws is passing strange. I wonder what he has against a day that provides tens of millions in revenues to Ireland and worldwide free publicity.

He clearly prefers the cartoon version of Irish America to the real one. His article is full of the same old insulting stereotypes that have long since been banished.

The notion that Irish Americans are naive is one he peddles again in the article. It was thrown at me when I was the first to undertake to bring President Clinton into the peace process. At least we don’t wake up any more to overnight news of dreadful killings in large part because of Bill Clinton and George Mitchell’s role.

He also misses what this presidential election should be about. To borrow Bill Clinton’s slogan, it is the economy stupid.

There are 100,000 jobs in Ireland because of American investment. They need to be safeguarded and built upon as the Johnson Johnson job losses this week make clear.

I am cognisant that the role of the Irish president must not conflict with the constitutional constraint, but surely being a door- opener and seeker for jobs for Ireland would be a welcome priority for a president?

Indeed, because of my position I am often approached by potential investors in Ireland and have acted on many such requests over the years.

Through the networks I have developed on Wall Street, among Fortune 500 companies and through the numerous business lists we created in our magazine, I believe I can act in an effective way as a jobs ambassador for Ireland.

That is not about being naive but rather about the forgotten families who now endure forced emigration and unemployment.

As for the royal family, I had nothing but good things to report on the royal visit.

We have all come a long way – except, perhaps Mr Ellis. – Yours, etc,

NIALL O’DOWD,

Founder irishcentral.com,

Irish Voice newspaper,

East 90th, New York, US.

Madam, – Larry Donnelly (June 16th) makes the point that in my article (Opinion, June 15th) I am “patronising” about Irish America. He then says that Niall O’Dowd would be a “great president” principally because of his extensive connections in the United States.

Mr O’Dowd (a man of undoubted enterprise) told Miriam O’Callaghan two years ago that he would never come back to Ireland to live. He had made his choices, he said, and, besides, his wife and daughter considered themselves Americans. Does Ireland really have to look outside of itself, to someone who left the country for a better life elsewhere, in order to restore its national sovereignty? And what does it say about Irish Americans that, in some cases a century on from their ancestors’ arrival on America’s shores, they still wake up each morning saying to themselves, “There’s no one more Irish than me”? But apart from anything else, the US is in desperate straits itself these days, uncertain of its place in the world, riven by internal hatreds.

Everybody knows this. That is why Barack Obama – a good man in bad times – is no longer seen by a majority of the electorate as part of the solution but as part of the problem. America is in no position to lecture any country on what needs to be done to restore peace and prosperity. Do we forget so soon that the international banking crisis originated on Wall Street and that unemployment in that country is now approaching 10 per cent?

It is to ourselves and our European partners that we must look for our salvation. Or do we not think we’re up to the task? Yours, etc,

WALTER ELLIS,

Henry Street,

Brooklyn, New York, US.