Speaking at the Business and Finance Outstanding Contribution to Ireland Awards at UCD, Mr Clinton said while “this is a complicated mess we are living through.... we are gonna be just fine”.
“Get your confidence back. Get your mojo back. Take the bitter medicine you have to take. This is not the drab horrible story that drove thousands of emigrants to the shores of the United States almost two hundred years ago.”
He said when people have picked themselves up “we have to be concerned about giving to our friends and neighbours and giving some to the rest of the world”.
People who share this big planet cannot divorce from each other and “we have to have a strategy about how we can widen the circle of opportunity”.
Mr Clinton said if any Irish person wakes up tomorrow morning and is “absolutely flat broke” to remember “they still have a better chance than half of the people on planet earth today, and they too share our future”.
He said people will have to “take the bitter medicine of further restrictions to meet the budget deficits” but this should not be done without a clear idea of where growth in jobs and businesses is, to bring the country back to recovery.
When financing resumes and business picks up, the Government must be “darn sure” that there are people equipped with skills ready to take up employment.
He referred to a line from Easter 1916 by WB Yeats that “Too long a sacrifice/ Can make a stone of the heart” and said in these difficult economic times, we should never let our hearts or our heads turn to stone.
Most importantly, Irish people must be optimistic.
“If you wake up in the morning and you still have your mind and you still have your heart and you can still breathe, it’s alright,” said Mr Clinton.