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St. Patrick's Day Message: Ireland Isn't Greece
CNBC.com | March 16, 2012 | 03:54 AM EDT

As large parts of the world turn green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has been flying the green, white and gold flag on a charm offensive around the world.

Kenny is packing in trips to London, China and New York within a couple of weeks in an effort to carry forward the country’s gradual return to economic health, which has been based largely on attracting foreign investment. He opens the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, after visiting at the White House over the weekend.

“This is a very important push for Ireland,” Irish businessman Barry Maloney, founder and general partner at venture capital firm Balderton Capital, told CNBC.

After the highs of the Celtic Tiger years, Ireland experienced the humiliating low of an 85 billion euro (then $113 billion) bailout by the troika of the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Union in late 2010.

Since then, the nation has emerged as a poster boy for austerity—although critics point out that unemployment still stands at 14 percent, emigration is rising as recent graduates leave, and internal growth has ground to a halt.

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