Ronan Lyons | Personal Website
Ronan Lyons | Personal Website

Eleven reasons to be cheerful

  • Shane ,

    Fare play Ronan, we need more of this encouraging commentary. Hoping you have a happy, safe and productive 2011.

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      • Seamus Carey ,

        Great piece Ronan. Interesting, well-written and easy to follow (for a non-economics buff) as usual.

        • Michael O'Brien ,

          Good article but a couple of guide books have served to cover over the massive short comings in Irish tourism.

          1. For an Irish family to holiday at home for two weeks in July or August it is still very, very expensive.

          2. The Irish tourism industry never addressed/dealt with the massive influx of non nationals that were given front of house positions in many establishments, many without adequate training in customer service. Not exactly the experience our other foreign visitors were looking for. This is not a xenophobic statement, just a statement of fact. We turned the hospitality industry on its head in space of 7 years and never thought about the impact. The long term damage is immeasurable.

          3. Ireland should take a product positioning stance and move away from Ireland of the Welcomes rubbish to Ireland of the Outdoors. We have a mild temperate climate (most of the time) and we have several hundred million people on our doorstep who will pay to engage in outdoor pursuits. The Irish Tourist Board is playing lip service to the notion of Irish as a place to come for activities. I’d turn it upside down and invest heavily in all types of outdoor activities.

          The world is moving towards an awareness of the importance of fitness for a better and healthier life. People of all ages will pay, handsomely, for access to enjoyable outdoor activities.

          If you’ve read Simon Anholt then it is clear that there are characteristics that automatically accompany being Irish and we should use these brand attributes to build a tourism destination that plays to the green image – outdoor activities that have a very powerful trickle-down effect in the economy.

          There, a lot of my chest but we can really turn it around with a country that focuses on outdoor activities.

          • Ronan Lyons ,

            Hi Michael,
            Thanks for that – some good constructive suggestions.

            • Stephen Hamilton ,

              Great to hear the word positive in a post about Ireland, even better to hear 11 reasons to be positive.

              • John Gleeson ,


                I couldn’t agree more with the current irrational need to ‘get back to making things’ as the key way out of our problems.

                Manufacturing and Agri-food industries will remain important parts of the economy but you don’t need to understand how software development works to appreciate that such companies will help diversify our economy over the next five years.


                • peter donegan ,

                  A Chara Ronan

                  well done. great post. guaranteed not to make the main sky news report/ 99.9% of the Irish meejia pages… for the sole fact that it is positive, encouraging and pretty darned accurate. All of the reasons I like it.

                  more of this sort of thing, please.
                  bulaidh bós an mhór

                  • Ken K ,

                    reason #12: A change in government. At this stage I think any of the current alternatives are better than the two Brian’s. Would it be too optimistic to hope for some political reform too?

                    • Cian Collins ,


                      Well done. Keep banging that drum. I just shared a link to your article on LinkedIn as I have a lot of international contacts and this is the stuff, particularly on the US side they need to keep seeing. Also a lot being done to develop home grown business. Particularly in Galway anyway.

                      Good job.


                      • Avril Quinn ,


                        Thank you indeed for portraying the Irish situation in a more realistic and positive light. Foreign Direct Investment and Exports are imperative to our economy and we need to drive the positive message as much as possible, particularly at present.

                        Well done,

                        Avril Quinn, HR Consultant, Cork, Ireland

                        • Ralph Smith ,

                          Great article Ronan. The anecdote to McWilliams’s half full glass.


                          • Louis Gunnigan ,

                            Great to read a positive article. We need more of this type of message. Once we lift our heads and stop wallowing in the misery, we will begin to create a better future.
                            RTÉ and politicians take note.

                            • James Wims ,

                              Well said – refreshing to read such a positive and ‘get up and go’ article. Someone should give it to all the ‘doom and gloom’ merchants. Thank you!

                              • Clare ,

                                Great piece Ronan. Great to see a positive spin on economic matters written so clearly! Interesting to see the centrality of farmers, tourism, exports & education. I’ll be sharing it with others.

                                • Bill Jones ,

                                  Very well written – lovely clear concise article. Keep them coming. I agree wholeheartedly with Michael O’Briens comments on tourism – outdoor activity is the way to go – we are sitting on some excellent outdoor activity potential. The natural assets, whether land or water based, have been given to us, free of charge. We now need to build a proper, modern business around this natural beauty and the potential demand.
                                  Best regards
                                  Bill Jones

                                  • JP ,

                                    I think this is a great article, I think it really points out some ‘overlooked’ issues. I am interested in education, and think that the Irish government is really dropping the ball there, if you look at educational statistics of the United States before 9/11, the amount of money brought in by international students was astronomical. Universities in Ireland are currently charging International students (or as we still call them: Foreign students) three times what we charge their EU counterparts. That is ok, what’s not ok, is that we make it practically impossible for them to get into the country, and we are negligible in international university fairs, and yet we boast 5 globally competitive universities, 4 of Europe’s top universities, and 2 of the worlds top universities!

                                    One last thing, the only thing I found frustrating about your article are some of the comments made about it. Positive thinking is not a tangible asset, you can’t “feel yourself” out of the recession. The fact that this article presented positive issues is due to the fact that there were positive issues to present. The assumption that some of your readers make that “This country needs more positive thinking” is sophomoric at best.

                                    • Fiona Ashe ,

                                      Excellent article, Ronan, thanks.

                                      By adopting a positive attitude and taking action to implement change, we can all play a part in reviving this fantastic country.

                                      Let’s have lots more of this postivity!

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                                          • idoc ,

                                            and to make this optimism a reality, default on all your debt! cleanse the system like Iceland and begin the long road back.

                                            • KC ,

                                              additionally.. our birth rate accelerating again. just ask anyone working in a maternity hospital.. unlike Japan’s single child/small families in early 1990s, we will breed our way out of this! spread the debt inheritance widely among multiple offspring.. future demographic dividend emerging again.

                                              • Gerard Sugrue ,

                                                @Michael O’Brien
                                                Couldn’t agree more with your points – esp #3. I live in Killarney (not in the tourist business) but too much effort still goes into bussing large groups around the Ring (breakfast in Killarney, lunch in Waterville, afternoon coffee in Kenmare and back to Killarney). The lakes are barely used – except by the local rowing clubs and the odd fisherman. You are correct that we ought to be expanding kayaking, sailing, mountain biking, and even just plain walking… As they say there’s no such thing as good or bad weather – just appropriate and inappropriate clothing.

                                                • ruinean ,

                                                  Reason #12, and maybe bigger in the long run than all those listed above, Ireland has vast oil and gas reserves off her west coast that can and will be developed. These could rival Norway and yet nobody seems to understand how important they will be going forward.

                                                  • Hugh Quigley ,

                                                    Another excellent post Ronan. One observation on the lack of Irish front of house personnel during the boom years which I too noticed at the time. However during the boom years most Irish people were simply uninterested in this type of work: advertising such a position produced a tidal wave of applications from non-Irish nationals and no home grown ones.
                                                    So, perhaps the blame for loss of the Irish out of Irish Hospitality is not the fault of tourism industry.
                                                    It is a rather different story today though!

                                                    • Eugene Callan ,

                                                      hi Ronan

                                                      Excellent read and the comment piece on tourism and outdoor activities also excellent.

                                                      This piece by IBEC on youtube also packs a punch (scrolls a little fast).


                                                      • Brendan Cullen ,

                                                        • J M ,

                                                          “Le Guide de Routard has voted Ireland’s restaurants as offering the best combination of quality, value and service in the world!”

                                                          Le Guide de Routard must have Irish investors!! Ireland has, amongst other things, the worst quality, value and service in Europe. Food in Ireland is of medium quality, way over-priced and poor service.

                                                          Irish people don’t know the meaning of top quality food with excellent service. Do you call €13 for a burger & a handfull of chips good value!!!

                                                          Rip off Ireland!

                                                          • Links | Clare Herbert ,

                                                            […] 11 Reasons to be cheerful about the Irish economy. Great stuff from Ronan Lyons. […]

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                                                              • why can't I get a jo ,

                                                                Just by looking at this post, I can tell with relative confidence that this has been written by an Irish person. Not that I have anything against the Irish.

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