Why Singer ‘Leona Daly’ at Eurosong 2008 showed us how Crazy Ireland Inc. had become
Much has been written of late about how Ireland is perceived internationally and how vital it is to have a serious and positive image abroad to lend credibility to our State. We wonder how it all went so wrong blaming our leaders for all the harm rather than also looking at our own role in creating this mess.
In 2008 at the Irish national Eurosong final some signs of how cavalier our attitudes towards our international reputation had become were clear for all to see. At that stage elements of the general public in this country had become so arrogant that we felt it would somehow be amusing to send an (at best) mildly amusing glove puppet turkey to represent us at Eurovision rather than a multi talented stunningly beautiful new female singer songwriter (Leona Daly).
Her clever and original song ‘crazy after all’ would have had a serious chance of winning Eurovision, instead she was forced to stand aside and see her brilliant performance voted second best. Somehow we in Ireland felt that the joke would transfer internationally. It did but the Joke was on us. When Europe dismissed our folly we blamed the continent for lacking a sense of humour not ourselves for behaving like idiots.
In the ensuing mess a great new emerging talent was overlooked. One can only hope that soon Leona Daly will emerge successfully in her own right and be able to put the collective madness of that night in 2008 behind her. One hopes also that Ireland too will realise that we should be celebrating our best and brightest not wallowing in misplaced arrogance. Crucially we as a people must also take at least some responsibility for our damaged international reputation and realise that no country can afford to ignore international opinion.
Leona Daly’s experience that night is important. She was the best of the best asking her country to give her a chance to shine internationally and by association also show Ireland at its best. Instead we chose a stupid colloquial comedy act and expected Europe to laugh along. They did but the joke was entirely on us.