Before we sell the country we should ask the people

No wonder the Greeks are upset. Yesterday, the IMF and the EU were busy trying to limit the damage following their mission to Greece. One auditor, also the EC representative, Servaas Deroose, encouraged the Greeks to “sell beaches” to pay back the IMF/EU...
We have witnessed the Dún Laoghaire-isation of Ireland

We have witnessed the Dún Laoghaire-isation of Ireland

It’s 9am in the Dominican Convent in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. A patient column of people runs all the way down the street as far as the Chinese-run New Paddy phone repair shop. The only other shop doing business so early on a Friday morning is May’s Occasions, which is busy selling communion dresses, tiaras and parasols to cater for the last-minute panic ahead of the big celebratory weekend.

Irish citizens might be about to repeal the constitutional amendment on abortion, but no one would lay a finger on our divine right to host a full-on, over-the-top communion, replete with bouncy castles, gazebos and Instagram poses.

Why do we tax income instead of wealth?

Why do we tax income instead of wealth?

At this time of year my inbox fills up with emails urging me to attend something called a “budget breakfast” on the morning after the budget. Such events are normally held in the plush offices of well-respected accountancy firms. These chrome and glass financial citadels on the river are testimony to the enormous fees paid by the wealthy to advisers in order to avoid tax.

The tax avoidance industry is one of the staples of the professional classes. And the annual nature of the budget ensures that these fees are fool-proof recurring annuities.

On Brexit, we’re closer to London than Berlin or Paris

In two weeks, Britain will trigger Article 50 and the clock starts ticking. The question is whether the UK and the EU can defuse the Brexit device, reaching compromise deals on everything from air travel and borders, to agriculture and banking. Or, as the clock ticks...