Irish historian and broadcaster Tim Pat Coogan kick-started what will be a series of debates on the rise and fall of the Irish economy.
And a full house turned out at London’s Irish Cultural Centre for the annual Mac Lua Memorial Lecture.
Why Is No One In Jail? – The Celtic Tiger Examined will look at who is to blame for Ireland’s rapid fall from financial grace.
The Mac Lua evening was chaired by Irish Arts Foundation director Chris O’Malley in the Hammersmith centre. And Tim Pat Coogan, the former editor of the Irish Press, provoked much debate during the Q&A session.
Audience member John Quaid said: “He’s an impressive speaker. The foremost and best writer on Irish history, his biography on Michael Collins is a masterpiece. It was an honour to meet him.”
A further two lectures are planned for later this month.
The next discussion on June 20 will be chaired by Reuters columnist Margaret Doyle.
Panelists will include economist David McWilliams, former Bank of Ireland CEO Michael Soden, Mordaunt Group MD George Mordaunt and financial journalist Margaret E. Ward.
The third and final event, on June 28, will be chaired by Irish Times London Editor Mark Hennessy, with panelists such as former RTÉ director of television Dr Joe Mulholland, Vice President of Chartered Accountants Ireland Brendan Lenihan, Fianna Fáil party leader Micháel Martin and Tangible Ireland CEO Raymond Sexton.
Raymond Sexton, CEO of Tangible Ireland, believes global Irishness is the key to solving Ireland’s problems.
“It has become apparent that a small group of individuals without adequate oversight combined to bankrupt the country,” he said.
“Now we again turn to our diaspora to help without in any way giving them a direct say in the running of the nation’s affairs.” Sexton believes Ireland needs to face up to its main challenge – the relationship between the island and its people.
“We Irish are a courageously global people,” he said. “Ireland the island is both an earth wire for our people and a source of great pride. But can one small island in the Atlantic limit our dreams and aspirations?”
Tangible Ireland, founded by Sexton in 2001, has developed into a network of independent business and civic leaders committed to promoting collaborative leadership.
Sexton believes combining the Irish in Ireland and its Diaspora to create a global Irish network would unleash a greater power.
“Once created Irish emigration ceases,” he said. “From that day Irish people are always at home and Irish nationalism is replaced by Irish internationalism.”
He added: “All global Irish should have appropriate representation in governing Ireland and developing Ireland’s role in the world. We should develop the policies, projects and structures that will breathe life into global Irishness, thus building a truly dynamic and sustainable economy that benefits all our people and powers the social services necessary for a humane society.”
The Mac Lua Memorial Lecture is held annually in honour of Brendán Mac Lua – the co-founder and long-serving editor of The Irish Post newspaper who died in 2009.
For full details about the remaining lectures go to www.irishculturalcentre.co.uk or contact 020 8563 8232.