Articles %

December 18, 2014

The global financial markets are going through a spasm. Emerging markets, long the flavour of the month as poor countries got richer, have seen money flow out of their economies at historical rates. More

December 15, 2014

Yesterday, in rural Kilkenny, a man stopped me and asked me when the recovery would be felt in the countryside. He told me he was watching the TV and listening to the radio about the recovery in Dublin and Cork, but he wasn’t feeling it. More

December 11, 2014

My darkest memory of schoolboy rugby is being isolated, petrified, deep in my own 22′, waiting for a massive “up and under” to come down in the first minute of the schools’ cup final in Lansdowne Road. I sensed the Terenure pack coming up at me like a thundering herd, intent on clobbering me. The ball took ages. The wind caught it and seemed – cruelly – to suspend it above me, swirling. And still they advanced. I could feel my Blackrock teammates looking at me. More

December 8, 2014

Forty years ago this weekend, at the Geneva peace conference between the Arabs and the Israelis, the Israeli foreign minister and one-time Belfast resident, Abba Eban, declared of the Palestinian negotiators that “they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. More

December 4, 2014

When my Granny, a Cork publican, was trying to clear the bar at closing time, she’d roar at the lonely, half-cut farmers who were slow to drink up: “Have you no homes to go to?” More

December 1, 2014

Under the watchful eye of Maurice de Sully, bishop of Paris, the first stones of Notre Dame cathedral were laid in 1136. More

November 27, 2014

The other morning in a suburban car park my son and his cousin saw a Lotus. They squealed and ogled at the thing. As someone who has no real interest in cars, this behaviour came as a bit of a surprise but it got me thinking about why we buy certain things. More

November 24, 2014

Like many fortysomething Irish men, I try to live a reasonably healthy life in between the pints, the Twixes and a car dashboard littered with sandwich wrappers, milky takeaway coffee cups and more than the odd crumpled up, badly-hidden bag of Tayto. Let’s just say that if the car were preserved as a crime scene, you wouldn’t need the microscopic tricks of those fancy lads from CSI to get a conviction. More

November 20, 2014

There’s a better chance of Roy Keane being named ‘Evertonian of the Year’ than of you paying water charges next year. Pardon the pun, but this Government will bottle it. It will simply back down and hope the whole thing goes away. More

November 17, 2014

You can feel the wealth everywhere in central London. The place has changed dramatically from the city I lived in during the 1990s. Back then it was almost sleepy: huge, yes; manageable, hardly; but excessively wealthy, no. More


I write two economics columns every week. They keep me sane and hopefully, on my toes – but you can be the judge of that! One appears in the Irish Independent on Wednesdays and the other in the Sunday Business Post every Sunday. I’ve been writing the columns for over ten years now, covering economic, financial, demographic, social and geo-political issues – and all sorts of other things that come into my head, sparked by things I’ve read, people I have spoken to or ideas I have heard, over the course of any particular week.

The world - and Ireland - is changing so rapidly that it’s impossible to run out of things to write about. Since I rarely stop writing, the articles are composed and written in the oddest of places, in bars, on trains, in my office, on buses. You name it, I’ve written in, on or under it.

One of the great joys in the week is reading the responses to my articles in the comments on this site. Thanks so much to everyone who responds, challenges, argues and even blatantly insults! This is what freedom of expression and opinion is all about: two contrasting opinions – a buyer and a seller - make a market and makes for good discussion. Imagine a world where we all agreed?