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PARTICIPATIVE GOVERNANCE
34. THE IRISH MODEL

    In our project to build a Lebanese National Development Plan 2011-2015 we shall get
    our inspiration from the Irish National Development Plan – NDP that happens to cover
    the same period of time.

    Our choice was influenced by two factors.

    Similarities between Ireland and Lebanon

    In the first instance we discovered that there exist many similarities between the two
    countries. This led us to believe that a Plan that has contributed so much to the
    development of the Irish economy should produce the same results in Lebanon
    provided, of course, that it is correctly implemented.

    Here are some of the common attributes shared by the Irish Republic and Lebanon.

    •        Population The size of Ireland’s, population (4.5 million people) and their living
    conditions are not much different from Lebanon.

    •        Diaspora Ireland, like Lebanon, has a large expatriate population abroad. The
    most famous cause of emigration was Irish Potato Famine of the late 1840s. A million
    are thought to have immigrated to Liverpool as a result of the famine. Around the same
    period, and for similar reasons, the Lebanese immigrated en masse to the Americas
    and Africa.

    •        History The political history of Ireland is not much different from Lebanon’s own.
    In the same way that Lebanon spent over four centuries under Ottoman mandate, so
    did the Irish suffer British rule for an even longer period.

    •        Economy The Irish and the Lebanese economies have also several common
    grounds. They both rely extensively on services and tourism, but agriculture and
    industry have played a much greater role in Ireland’s economic development.

    The Irish economic experience reversed dramatically during the course of the 1990s,
    which saw the beginning of unprecedented economic growth in the Republic of
    Ireland, in a phenomenon known as the "Celtic Tiger” and peace being restored in
    Northern Ireland. In 2005, the Republic of Ireland was ranked the best place to live in
    the world, according to a "quality of life" assessment by The Economist magazine.
    During that period as many as four different five year plans were drawn up and
    successfully implemented.

    Here, unfortunately for us, the comparison between Lebanon and Ireland ends
    because in the 1990’s, which saw the end of the civil war in Lebanon, and later in
    2005, when the Syrians withdrew, our country had twice the opportunity to get out of the
    mud and rebuild the country on a strong, solid and permanent basis. Unfortunately, in
    both instances, we failed to take full advantage of these circumstances.

    Economic and social arguments

    Among the major economic and social arguments for using the Irish Development
    Plan as a model, we can cite:

    1.        The thoroughness of the economic study on which the Plan is based, adding the
    fact that this Plan is the fifth of its kind in Ireland since 1990. The Irish Authorities have
    thus benefited from twenty years of experience in that domain.

    2.        Furthermore, the Irish Plan has put a great deal of emphasis on the social
    aspect of the Plan as evidenced by the Plan’s title: “Transforming Ireland. A better
    quality of life for all.”

    3.        The third argument prevailing in favor of the Irish Model is the emphasis the Plan
    lays on Enterprise, Science and Innovation priorities. This should particularly inspire
    our Youth in Lebanon who should be eager to put their knowledge and their
    enthusiasm to the service of their country.

    This report is a literary analysis of young people’s
    participation in civil society in contemporary Ireland.
    Following a brief review of the concept of social
    capital in an Irish context the report is structured into
    four main An additional (minor) section briefly looks at
    emerging issues.

    This report forms part of the Irish contribution to
    project ‘Up 2 Youth; Youth, Actor of Social Change’, a
    pan-European research project funded by the
    European Commission.
    For additional details go to: http://www.ywicork.com/Youth%
    20Participation%20in%20the%20Republic%20of%20Ireland.pdf