Place branding Michael Collins
Jim Egan

Ireland’s economic catastrophe proves history’s circularity.  As a UCD student in 2000 I optimistically maintained “There is no future in Irish history.”  But the humiliation of my ancestral homeland, of which I am a proud citizen, is proving me wrong.

Punters are few as to when the curtain will close upon Fianna Fáil’s modern Irish farce.  We all await the dénouement of Éire being wracked with social unrest unleashed by the financial crisis birthed through incestuous homegrown political, regulatory and banking incompetence.  Likewise, will we witness the nightmarish and cathartic Last Act named ‘Wither Sovereignty’?  It might unfold with a raucous scene of the Dáil being forced (as a pre-condition of yet another bail-out package) to approve a Bank of England covenant allowing British troops to ‘help maintain order’ in Ireland’s principal cities.

As this agonizing tragicomedy grinds ever onward surely an exodus is brewing among the not-so-captive national audience.  After all, given their raped fiscal landscape, what future lies (to quote James Joyce) in “… the mouldering offal …” of NAMA ‘equity’?  Yet amidst the nation’s ghastly ordeal some bold souls, enjoying inexplicable immunity (to common sense and suffering as well), detect a glittering place brand business opportunity:  visitors are flocking to Reilig Ghlas Naíon where Michael Collins convulses in his grave.

Which explains why, in a tony basement wine bar near St Stephen’s Green, some of Ireland’s bolloxed politicos, regulators, former banking elite, and their developer cronies – never ones to miss a quick buck – are abuzz:  “Let’s have a go at monetizing Irish nostalgia!  How about a ‘Michael Collins National Resurrection Bond’?  It’ll be great craic!”
Jim Egan is the Principal Partner at privately-held Ferrumar.  The company is creating immersive, experiential digital media projects to influence the emotions, brand loyalties and discretionary spending patterns of global 100m-sized online audiences.  He also serves on the board of an emerging cleantech company that is inventing household carbon capture and water reuse devices.