THE BLOG
12/13/2010 06:06 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Twitter Hashtag Brings Out Hope in Ireland

For all the wrong reasons, Ireland is world news hotspot. Traditional media is declaiming on its dire economic situation, backed by a Greek chorus of social media chatter. A new Twitter hashtag, #positiveireland, has surfaced, attracting a digital stream of good Irish economic news to counter the prevailing doom, gloom and ire (represented the video surging on YouTube linked to below). Here's a sample of what they're tweeting with the #positiveireland hashtag:
  • "Financial services firm Citi is to create 250 jobs in Dublin and Waterford"
  • "300 construction jobs with €37m health center"
  • "more good news, 250 job places in Citi FS for Dublin and Waterford"
  • "US Tech investors Vanitas on why they're moving to Dublin in spite of it all"
  • "#positiveireland Twitter may set up base in Ireland 2011"
I've tweeted using the #positiveireland hashtag, but triggering an economic revival is an awful lot to ask of 140 characters. Wondering how people were reacting to this accentuate-the-positive effort, I posted a query about it on the "Irish in Media" Linkedin group. Patrick J. O'Rourke, who operates Sleeping Warrior, a video production business in Co. Leitrim, provided a heartfelt dispatch from the economic front lines which I've excerpted here:

#positiveireland is mainly used by affluent people who don't seem to be affected as yet by the current state of the Irish economy. This budget is going to hit the poorest first and hardest who will find it hard to find anything positive to focus on. This country is paying the price for a handful of corrupt and greedy bankers gambling, with the taxpayer picking up the tab for the losses.

Now the economy is collapsing from the bottom up as all the self-employed and small companies go bust, can't get paid for work done or any credit from the banks to fulfill existing orders for products or services. They are losing their houses in the courts as the bankers and bondholders laugh and breathe a sigh of relief. The only positivity they will find is looking forward to emigration, as there will never be any more future for them in Ireland due to the debt they have been left with by their own property loss, bad debt and the banks.

...people who are on social welfare, the low paid, our education and health systems are being asked to pay for the financial well being of bondholders. I'm watching carnage all around me here in rural Ireland and people are angry--rightly so. What's the point in everyone remaining positive whilst being cold and hungry, to rebuild an economy wrecked by a few greedy rich people when exactly the same would happen again?

Of course people will reply "it was a bubble and it burst," True. Ordinary people had to buy houses to live in that cost about 500% more than they were worth and borrow accordingly with reckless lending from the banks. That became slavery to the financial institutions. Young people wanting to buy a house had to mortgage their parents' and even grandparents' houses to supply the financial institutions with the inflated collateral they needed to blag their way on the markets. What have they got now? Negative equity, no employment and a session in the courts to look forward to, to lose their house.

Positivity needs a base...a sound foundation or it's false hope. The only way people now are going to find any positivity is by someone...anyone...coming up with a way to revolutionize our political and financial systems, as well as bring those responsible to justice. That would give people real hope, hope of change...and needs good brains, courage...and...a hashtag.

Many thanks Patrick for taking the time to write this thorough and sincere response and for letting me share it here.

MEDIA PINGS: Going Viral: For a much saltier take on the Irish economic mess, check out this Canadian "man on the street" YouTube interview with an Irish ex-pat who lays it all out there in a stream of NSFW soundbites.