This spring -- the day before St. Patrick's Day, in fact -- we wrote about Ireland's plans to open a consulate in Houston.
Today -- the day before St. Mary Major Day -- we write to say it may not happen after all.
The Irish Echo is reporting that the economic downturn is affecting the Celtic Tiger as much as it is everyone else, and the government is weighing plans to delay the opening of new consulates and possibly closing some existing ones:
Irish diplomatic outposts around the U.S. could be coming in for some cost cutting.
And while it seems unlikely that any of them will be entirely eliminated, the state of Irish public finances is casting a cloud over plans to enhance Ireland-U.S. relations as envisaged in the Irish government's separate strategic report on same issued early this year.
An earlier government report had called for opening new consulates in Atlanta and Houston, to join the ones in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago.
Now it looks like at most one new consulate will be opened, and it won't be here:
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The strategic report, meanwhile, recommends the opening of two new consulates in Atlanta and Houston. Of the two, Atlanta is viewed as being first in line for opening, and while outright cancellation of the plan would appear unlikely, the government's parlous financial state could delay it.
Why Atlanta? No reason given.
Houstonians who had been pushing for a consulate here had resigned themselves to not seeing it for five years or so; the spring announcement got their hopes up for quicker action.
But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said after JFK's death, "There's no sense in being Irish unless you understand the world is eventually going to break your heart."