The importance of knowing you're not important

I’ve always been amused at the number of Irish people who live under the illusion that Ireland is an important country on the world stage.

Clearly, Ahern’s supporters were expecting the world to stop and listen in awe as Bertie made his ‘historic speech’.

Journalist Sam Smyth, a dedicated Bertie man, was very disappointed when he spoke to Today FMs American commentator Ed Hayes on the Sunday Supplement. Sam wanted to know how the great speech by the great Bertie went down with the Americans.


“That speech Ed; did it make any sort of splash in the United States?”

Ed: (In a typical no nonsense New York response).

“Nothing, I didn’t even know he spoke here. I didn’t see it on the internet; I didn’t notice it in any newspapers. I read the speech when you told me you wanted to talk about it today. I went and found it and it was a lovely, lovely speech but I didn’t see it anywhere.”

Sam: (Obviously puzzled that the great Bertie speech went unnoticed)

“Well, what does that mean Ed? Does it mean that Americans don’t particularly care about us, does it mean they were more concerned when Ireland was at war rather than peace – what does it mean?”


“America is at war, we’re in the middle of a presidential election and we’re in a recession so we’ve got a lot of other things on our minds. Ireland is just not a big force in American lives.”

Here’s what it means Sam – A large percentage of the American population (300 million) never heard of Ireland. The tiny minority that have heard of us know little and care less about our problems. As Ed Hayes says, they have enough problems of their own.

And what’s this ‘war’ thing Sam? 3,000 people died in our nasty little spat over a thirty year period. The amount of people killed on our roads in the same period was many multiples of that.

Over 4,000 Americans and more than a million Iraqi citizens have died in just five years of war – That’s war.