“There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” - Leonard Cohen.
I make no apologies by starting with a quotation from Leonard Cohen who died last week aged 82. May he rest in peace.
I loved his singing, but most of all I loved the thoughts contained in his words. Read again as above: “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. How deep a thought is that? I always felt he was a poet and a singer who was speaking to me as an individual as well as, of course, singing to thousands all around the world. He will be sorely missed.
Now, of course, everone is still talking about Donald Trump becoming the president of USA. Imagine they are still marching in some of the urban centres in America. What is all that about? They hold banners saying “He’s not our president”, but of course he is their president. I do not know what marching will do for any of them, but maybe it just lets off some steam.
For us here in Ireland, I regard it as a very hopeful sign that Enda Kenny was one of the first to speak with Donald Trump after his election, and moved to ensure that he, as leader of Ireland, will meet him in the White House come next March 17.
Now, of course, all the smart commentators are saying “Oh that’s only a load of baloney about the shamrock”. Let me tell you, it means a lot more than that. The fact is, Donald Trump has a business stake in Dunbeg in County Clare where they hoisted his flag long before the election. His vice president, Mike Pence, has great grandparents both from Dunbeg and from Monaghan, so we have a good leg in in the US and let us not forget it.
Of course, it gives Enda Kenny as our Taoiseach a great reason for staying in office, apart from everything else, in that he now must be the person who bears the bowl of shamrock to Donald Trump and hopefully gets some kudos for Ireland out of it.
Let me tell you, out of all of the rhetoric and promises he made, the ones that he will fulfil will include the reducing of taxes in the US, because it is a longtime Republican wish that personal taxes would be lowered. There is also the threat to lower the corporate tax from 35 per cent to 15 per cent, which would be approaching our 12.5 per cent.
What all this adds up to is that, whatever about the American firms which are already bedded into Ireland remaining here, if the tax rate gets down to 15 per cent it will put a damper on American firms that were considering locating in Ireland. It means that the IDA/Enterprise Ireland and Mary Mitchell O’Connor in the Department of Jobs will all have to work extra hard to ensure that we can still entice the Americans here. After all, we are the gateway to Europe for them.
We have a fine, well-educated, English-speaking workforce and many other attractions to lure them here, so let us put on the bright coat and go out and sell Ireland again and again. I am quite sure we can do it. Instead of moaning, get up and at it.
A last thought before we leave the whole US story. I continue to be lost in admiration for Caitriona Perry, the RTÉ reporter in the US. In the midst of the storm that was the election results, Caitriona kept her cool. She appeared poised, suave, and composed each time the RTÉ newscaster went to her in whatever city or area she was in. She is a real good media performer. She always gives her news crisply, competently, and with an assured air, so that you know you are getting the real statistics and facts. Well done Caitriona and long may you reign on the airwaves between us and the United States.
Let’s get back talking about sport. Wasn’t it wonderful last Saturday to sit down and watch good sport on RTÉ2? First, we had Ireland’s soccer team playing against Austria in Vienna and winning 1-0. I thought that James McClean played a magnificent game. Ireland are well placed now to qualify, so I hope they will succeed in that. Is there anything more satisfying than to sit in your own chair, in your own room, and watch Ireland play games on your own TV?
I hope also that Joe Schmidt continues the good work facing into next Saturday when the All Blacks come back, it is said, to Ireland with revenge in their heart. I feel we are well able for them no matter what Haka they perform, such show-offs they are!
I am back to promoting my book again this week even though, at times, my heart is heavy. Today, Thursday, November 17, I am in Bandon where there is a terrific bookshop. The local bank manager, when he retired, set up Bandon Books and from all accounts it is a terrific bookstore. He has kindly invited me down to coincide with the launch of ‘Buy this Christmas in Bandon’, which is pushing out the boat for shoppers from all West Cork to come into Bandon and do their Christmas shopping.
I am looking forward to the visit and the follow-on visit a few days later to the Book Worm in Thurles in Tipperary. It is a beautiful, small bookshop with a coffee shop at the back and the owners invite in anyone who wants to have a cup of coffee to look through the books and perhaps purchase, perhaps not, but their door is ever open.
We’ll finish for now. Talk with you all next week.
In the meantime, go safely and remember, “there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
Slan go Foill,