Today I am energised and joyful.  Thank you to the folks committed to striving for “Excellence in Ireland”. I joined them in London. There was no better way for an Irish-American expat to spend Thanksgiving 2010.

Imagine optimism, ambition and a call for excellence by determined Irish folk and their supporters on both sides of the Irish Sea and across the Diaspora.

Imagine Enterprise Ireland presenting great news: 139 Irish companies entering the UK market in the last 18 months; an additional 78 to Europe. This is a committed group with a structured program of expanding markets for Irish businesses.  Imagine that Irish construction companies expand their capacity and strategically market with Portuguese and Spanish companies to open markets in South America, it’s happening!  This is not a bunch of bureaucrats ticking boxes; this is a dynamic group – aggressively bringing Irish business to the world stage, where larger markets and opportunities abound. Then imagine a technology product that is bringing the story of our innovations worldwide – via live feeds, videos and conferencing – not a boring report in sight!

Imagine a commitment to sustain the unique identity and contribution of the Irish to London illustrated in talks by our host at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith and by a representative from the Federation of Irish Societies.  The cultural centre is committed to programming that brings the richness of Irish culture to Irish emigrants, their descendants and a wider UK audience.  How Irish Are You? is an effort to have UK Irish emigrants and their descendants “tick the Irish box” on the UK census in March. An undercount in the last census impacted allocation of funds to specific community needs – getting it right could have an impact on funding from leaner budgets going forward.

Imagine a movement to bring the vote to all Irish citizens living abroad.  Ireland and Greece are the only EU countries who don’t give their citizens abroad the vote.  Imagine that if you are forced to emigrate for work, you would be ensured a say in electing and empowering new leadership who will pave the way for a recovery that could bring you or your children home.

Imagine a social network of Irish people worldwide, helping each other find jobs or comfort in the diaspora. A message delivered via video at the London launch of came from Jordan.  (paraphrased) I’m sorry, I’d love to be there but we had a previous commitment to raise a glass and watch “the game” among our Irish friends here. Imagine mining the site for Irish business & social contacts worldwide!

Imagine a book of the found photographs of Father Francis Brown whose chronicle of Ireland and her people between 1894 and 1937 has just been published;  priest, philosopher, WWI chaplain – a Renaissance man and lover of all places and things Irish. His  grand-nephew has preserved this bygone era. A bold footnote to our meeting and – a reminder of what we love about the place the people entirely unchanged by current politics and economics.

Imagine frank talk by a Belfast entrepreneur who told us about  Northern Irish Connections. Beyond this effort to engage the Diaspora with an ambitious program to highlight and report back how best to reach folks who will add value to our island world; he peppered all our conversations with reminders of the subtle adjustments to language and simple nuance which will help us move from the still strained and sensitive relationships of the peace process to the more easy comfort we will need for the prosperity process.

Whatever you can imagine and visualise, it can happen; I’ve shared their vision – and an Ireland of excellence is within our reach.  Start grasping.

To lend a hand or add your voice to embolden our leadership in this prosperity process, contact me, comment here – or join for links to some of these folks and their efforts!

Father Browne at Home is available from the author; contact me for further information.