Irish-American eyes may be smiling on St. Patrick's Day, but in Ireland itself, there's little to be pleased about. The government still owes $100 billion to the banks, and approximately 1,000 people are leaving the country every week in a flood of emigration not seen since the 1950s. However, some commentators hope the country's national day might prompt a turnaround in fortunes. President Obama even announced he would visit the benighted nation in May, as part of a European tour. Could the luck of the Irish be about to return?
The new government is an improvement: Ireland may have "enough problems to give aspirin a headache," says Niall O'Dowd at The Huffington Post, but things are looking up. The newly-elected government, led by Prime Minister Enda Kenny, has pledged to be "fair, open and honest," and has "swept out all the old and tired faces" who got Ireland into this mess. "That in itself makes it a brighter day this St. Patrick's Day for the Irish."
"St. Patrick's Day glimmer of hope for Ireland with dynamic new government"
The Irish prime minister is already winning friends in D.C.: Kenny has landed in Washington, says Miriam Lord in the Irish Times, and he's "in his element." On his visit to the U.S., Kenny must play salesman, and he's playing it "like a pro." The 800 Irish-Americans who attended a big St. Patrick's Day dinner in Washington last night take a vested interest in what happens "back home," and Kenny's "vigorous approach" left them impressed. Things are looking up.
"Mr. Kenny goes to Washington and plays them all like a pro"
If we focus on the good, we'll be OK: There's a "renewed sense of optimism" amongst the Irish, says Dublin's Evening Herald in an editorial, despite the "many problems weighing us down." But today's a day for focusing on "all that's positive about our country." As everyone celebrates Ireland, we have the "opportunity for a new beginning."
"We need to focus on the good today"