I’ve written a couple of times so far about how I’m not convinced about the IdeasCampaign that is being promoted by Amas and Aileen O’Toole.
Don’t get me wrong here – I’m all in favour of anything that can help this country out of the trouble it’s in at the moment. I’ve commented before that entrepreneurship in this country was in trouble during the Celtic Tiger once people realised it was easier to provide for their retirement by buying and renting property rather than setting up businesses and employing others as my own parents did in the 1980’s.
The IdeasCampaign today isn’t what it was announced as last week on PrimeTime on RTE. On that programme, we were told that Aileen O’Toole was almost assuming a “social entrepreneurship” role by promoting this as her own personal idea for the public to get involved in. This week, however, the IdeasCampaign is a public relations campaign being promoted by a public relations company – Amas.
We don’t know why the campaign has changed direction, or why lots of behind the scenes changes were made to the website have been made without any explanation – such changing the original terms and conditions.
My post here asks some of the key questions that I’d like to see the people behind the IdeasCampaign answer.
In my mind, the IdeasCampaign has nothing to do with the public apart from the expectation that us poor unfortunates should hand over our ideas for free to a group of high up connected business people who would make money off the back of those ideas, according to the original terms and conditions.
And to further enforce that belief, have you seen the Advisory Group that Aileen O’Toole has appointed to sift through the ideas and prepare a report that will ridiculously be presented straight to Cabinet. The usual suspects that Aileen O’Toole has brought together are:
Frank Gallagher – Property developer and drinking buddie of Bertie Ahern.
Moya Doherty – Multi-millionaire, though an unfortunate shareholder in Anglo Irish Bank
Alan Gray – Economist who’s company works for the government
Kieran McGowan – Associated of Aileen O’Toole through Business in the Community board membership
Tina Roche – Employee of Business in the Community, where Aileen O’Toole is board member
Ian McShane (no relation) – Aileen O’Tooles company Amas works for his company, and they’re connected through the JNIR
This is the “in crowd”. There’s nothing new or innovative here. These Advisory Council members, I guess, have always had direct access to the powers that be, but now they’re just doing it off the back of the ideas of the general public.
There are no members of the public on this Council. The members of the public who submitted their ideas have been completely forgotten now that their ideas have been collected and collated.
All I’m hearing when I see these names and hear about Advisory Councils providing strategic advice and shaping an action plan are the words “useless quango”.
I personally have no faith in this campaign. I sincerely hope that something good comes from it, but I’m not holding my breath.