Last week I was invited to lunch in Croke Park with my fellow graduates from the ISME (Business Development programme).After a splendid dinner our guest speaker, Mr John Moran, took to the podium, deputising for Minister Michael Noonan, who was unable to attend due to personal matters.
Mr Moran is Secretary General of the Department of Finance, and has held many senior posts in the banking world, warmed to his theme by outlining the Trojan work he and his government were engaged in to resolve the present economic crisis. While he appreciated the sacrifices made by us all, he felt the business community could do more to help themselves. Mr Moran expressed his dismay at this sector, particularly the small to medium sized businesses who he felt could do more to embrace new technologies, and to develop a greater online presence. He assured his audience that the banks were more than willing to reach out and assist anyone with a valid business plan but, in his opinion, a significant number of businesses needed to ‘raise their game.’ if they wanted financial support from the banks.
Surly these businesses would not be looking for financial help in the first place, had the banks not singlehandedly driven them, and this country, to the brink of bankruptcy.
The Irish business community has proven, time and time again, that it can do business with the best. And it will do so again. They do not need marketing advice, they need money. When that happens our business men and women will once again be in a position to compete with their European counterparts, on a level playing field.
Before I left the stadium, I made my way onto the Hogan Stand. Even in that vast emptiness and silence, you could hear the roar of the crowd. My grandfather was the gaffer (foreman) back when they built the original stand. As I stood there, I wondered what he would have made of it today.
Afterwards we adjourned to Dicey Reilly’s on Harcourt Street for some liquid refreshments!