I tweeted a few weeks ago about the “can’t do” attitude in Ireland.
The “can’t do” attitude in Ireland is getting me down.
— le craic (@lecraic) July 5, 2012
It was a reaction after a phone call with a member of staff in the National Library of Ireland. I won’t go into detail about it, but the attitude was one of inflexibility and no accommodation for the small project I wanted to get off the ground which was different to anything they had seen before. It didn’t fit their licensing model, so I had to drop the idea.
Another example relates a not for profit project I am running at the moment. With personal funds being tight and domain renewal coming up, I contacted the domain provider to ask if they would sponsor the domain for the year. I outlined what the project was, and that a prominent national radio programme wants the first interview when it comes out of “beta”. Nice bit of publicity to have their name as hosting sponsor listed on the site I thought.
Hosting provider (Irish) came back to say they do a free charity hosting – once I had a CHY number. I explained the rigmarole around getting a registered charity in Ireland and the requirement to register as a charity is only there if a charity is seeking tax exemption. The project is not seeking this, as there is no fundraising element requiring tax exemption. The hosting provider did hold out an olive branch & gave a free .ie domain which is was decent, but the inflexibility bugged me.
Contrast this with the experience I had with a US company a few weeks earlier. I emailed seeking not for profit discount on one of their services (which I would never have been able to afford at full price). They came back and asked for a registered charity number. I explained the situation regarding registered charities in Ireland. Within 20 minutes, I got an email back with “No problem. I’ve applied the not for profit discount on your account”. This is from a company I had no previous dealings with (unlike the Irish hosting provider).
I look at fantastic, spirited, life-affirming projects like Caines Arcade and ask myself could something like this happen in Ireland? Sad to say, I don’t think it could. Some pencil pusher from the local council would be over looking for planning permission, trading license or something to shut it down.
There’s something in our psyche that holds us back from being truly great. We need to be a country where Yes is the default response rather than No. A country where business is really encouraged and failure is not seen negatively. A country where people high five good work rather than mutter something begrudgingly. A country where Caine could build a cardboard arcade, go to college and be the thing everyone talks about after hearing about it on Liveline.
Carpe the fuck out of the diem, people!