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Clinton: The world is confident about Ireland's future

The former US president has told the Global Irish Forum that “not one person” doubts we will recover.

Clinton addressing the Global Irish Forum today
Clinton addressing the Global Irish Forum today
Image: Screen grab / RTÉ

BILL CLINTON HAS said there is no question that Ireland’s economy will recover – the only question is “when and how”.

The former US president said that “not one” person informed about the world economy had “a moment’s doubt” that Ireland would regain its economic footing, and that the country “has a lot going” for it.

Speaking at the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle, Clinton listed Ireland’s advantages. He said we are “a great exporting nation” and “the country that built the most successful economy in Europe”, with “a diaspora that adores you” and “the youngest workforce in Europe”, adding:

I know a lot of people in Ireland are discouraged, but the rest of the world thinks you’re pretty great. You need to play on that.

In a speech which touched on many of the significant economic decisions of the Irish recession, Clinton insisted that Ireland was headed in the right direction. He said that guaranteeing and supporting the banks was “the right decision”, as it “made [business]people want to be here”.

Clinton welcomed Ireland’s focus on exports, suggesting that building stronger links with emerging economies such as India and Brazil would offer a lot of potential. He called for a greater focus on renewable energy, saying that every billion dollars spent in this field would generate up to 8,000 jobs while “paying for itself”. “If you’ve got somebody who can finance it you can guarantee a return,” he said.

He also acknowledged the power of the global Irish diaspora – and offered to host a meeting of business, cultural and political leaders in the US to explore ways of assisting Ireland’s recovery. “”I’d be happy to host a meeting like this in the US,” he said. “We’d like to do this, to bring people together and see what they can do to help.”

Concluding his address to an audience including Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Clinton said that Irish people need to be more positive and focus on the future. “You can’t do the dozens of things [that you need to do] if you are paralysed by disappointment,” he said.

Read more: Enda Kenny: We will be the first to wave goodbye to the IMF>

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Michael Freeman

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