Driving Excellence in Ireland, a #Hashtag Primer

If you’re new to following current events in Ireland – this is for you.

Ireland in 2018 is a very hard place to be.

Correction. Ireland until late 2017 was a very hard place to be. Thanks in large measure to #Housing & #Homeless activists as well as #Together4Yes and #Repealthe8th campaigners, things started to change in late 2017.

Now, at least, there is hope.

My February post, On Social Change in Ireland, “we’ll get there…” reflects that shift. And some of the challenges.

On arriving in 2008, “You can’t say that!” was a near constant refrain when I’d reflect back the insanity of life here. A New York reared blow-in, I was identified in my earliest days as “that cheeky American woman”.

After a lifetime recovering from a shaming and silencing childhood (just like most here), I wasn’t buying the idea that the silent-secret-keeping was anything but toxic.

My attempt to address it in a 2012, TEDxBelfastWomen talk met with mixed reviews; novel then, the message seems to be hitting home now.

So, I’ve been cheeky. I’ve found cheeky Irish people. And together we’ve helped to inspire many who were contemplating cheekiness – to get over their reluctance. Our message is simple: #GoForIt (or #JFDI if you’re not easily offended).

If you’ve found your way to us lately, perhaps it was by way of one of these-

  • #YvonneWalsh – A mother of two jailed for refusing to leave her home which would render her children homeless.
  • #VultureFunds – The world has it’s share of problems with them, but our government invited them in and gave them a tax free and virtually unregulated status. #MichaelNoonan
  • #Homelessness The current tally is over 10,000 homeless with over 4000 of those children.
  • #Whistleblower It’s not safe to be a #Whistleblower in Ireland. Pretty much guaranteed you’ll be permanently unemployable, broke and ostracised.
  • #DisclosureTribunal is a current (#MauriceMcCabe) #Whistleblower investigation. Before him @WhistleIRL Nothing will come of it – it never does. Perhaps because any evidence obtained is inadmissible in court. It’s the way the powers that be remain untouchable.
  • #TrackerScandal– Originally 5000, then 33,000 now nearly 40,000 deliberate bank overcharges. The highlight of which was that no one believed it until #PadraicKissane had 5 clients appear before the Dail Banking and Finance Committee. “How did the banks think they’d get away with it?” he was asked. “They used our Irishness against us”. Meaning – they counted on our shame to keep us silent.
  • #Nama – The National Asset Management Agency – great idea in theory.
  • #FF/#FG – Fianna Fail the party in power at the crash/Fine Gael the party in leadership since first in coalition with #Labour, currently in a confidence and supply agreement with #FF.
  • #CervicalCheck No news blackout here. The they tried. The #HSE didn’t advise women or their doctors of misread cervical smears. But news got out on the back of #VickyPhelan‘s lawsuit and subsequent testimony before #DailEirann. The scandal is described in this Irish Times article.

And a few we’d like to see take off –

  • #CherishedChildren – A reminder to many that in Ireland’s founding document, there lies a promise- “cherishing all the children of the nation equally”
  • #Transparency & #Accountability – A reminder that we must relentless demand it. Transparency International produced a report for Ireland in 2009 and updated it in 2012 – the measures they suggested have, to date, been ignored. Nevertheless – there is a SpeakUp.ie site and a on it a helpful video on how to “speak up safely”. #GoForIt – please.


Ireland moved from a Third World Country in the 50’s & 60’s – with 1/2 the economy dependent on remittances, to a First World country during the 70’s and 80’s – owed in large part to Diaspora investment. Philanthropists built universities, brought jobs and significantly impacted the business and civic culture.

We need that leadership now more than ever.


We used to ask you to come home or send money.

Neither are required. Simply share your experience, your wisdom, and the optimism that seems to characterise the Irish when the leave here.

And if you’re here in Ireland – speak out.

  • Tell your stories.
  • We have nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Nothing changes until we do!

The #CherishedChildren of the Republic need homes, healthcare and stability.