At the risk of being tedious once again on the subject of history there are plenty of examples of small nations using their brains to balance competing powerful dynamics around them. The island and city states between ancient Greece and Persia being one historical example.
Ireland has one good natural industry which provides a national income stream and that is agriculture and its related exports. There is another provided by our location that is criminally underutilised and that is 'blue farming' or sustainable marine farming. We're not short of raw material there either. Other than that it is a high profile in the world for tourism- an industry that has been known to be abusive to its potential customer base in the past it has to be said.
Most of the 'service' sector of the Irish economy is fake- an accountants trick. We have no reason by our location to come into conflict with the BRIC countries. It should be perfectly possible for us, provided we form the habit of thinking along these lines and drop the insecure paranoia about how close to Berlin or Boston we happen to be on any given day, to be able to steer a path for ourselves.
We have the worst of all worlds at the moment- no self-governance over finance, the balance of trade destroyed because we are exporting large sums of money regularly out of the Irish economy to pay currency gamblers and their mates abroad, a financial centre which has no interest in paying any kind of meaningful rent to be in the country and serves only to distort the domestic economy, a professional class incapable of undertaking any national project without robbing as much of whatever budget can be robbed and an utterly dull secretariat convinced of its own importance but unable to take on any major initiative without expensively buying in 'expertise'.
Mineral wealth- corrupt backhander deals enriching state negotiators with the result that that potential income stream has been delivered to looters.
Ireland desperately needs a serious insurrection and a unilateral nationalisation of resources plus a policy of refusing to sell off other assets with the threat of default if the vultures demand such sales. For the first time in its history Ireland has a nuclear deterrent and that is around the possibility of taking the Euro area down by pressing the button marked 'default'.
Our servile policies in this area maintained by a group of carpetbaggers called politicians result only in us being treated as the servant in the room. Looking ahead who is going to respect Ireland in negotiations when we have our political leadership being patted on the head with his little photo on the front of a corporate rentboy publication and the designation 'European Servant of The Year'?
History again- sovereignty is never achieved or held without demanding and insisting on it. There are no examples anywhere of a country being handed its self-determination as a gift by other nations and power blocs. It is something that has to be fought for and held. Germany and the EU are not some fine day going to say 'good lads, here you go, you've been very good and now off you go and enjoy yourself'.
Anyone who thinks Ireland will emerge as a sovereign nation again at some point given current conditions is a fool of the very worst kind. The paradigm must be changed, whatever the pressures against. Failure to insist on sovereignty over time will result only in servitude.