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November 26, 2015

The shooting down of a Russian jet by Turkey yesterday underscores yet again just how many proxy wars are going on in the region and just how old enmities are resurfacing, despite increases in trade and investment over recent years. More

November 23, 2015

On the fifth anniversary of the troika’s arrival, let’s be clear on what has actually helped us recover More

November 19, 2015

It’s customary to open the first speech of a conference with the catch-all welcome of “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen”. It’s more of a habit than anything else. It is therefore unusual to then look down more carefully from the podium at the huge hall and realise that there are no ladies present at all. More

November 16, 2015

If, after four years of printing money, the system isn’t working, what next? More

November 12, 2015

As we are about to embark on a year of celebrating 1916 and the birth of the nation, maybe it’s a good idea to stand back and ask what 1916 did for the economy. More

November 5, 2015

Last Friday week, there was a small crash on the M50. Try getting to the airport from most places in Dublin if there is a crash on the M50: the chances of you making it on time are slim to non-existent. More

November 2, 2015

It appears to be an article of faith amongst the mainstream that rent controls are a “bad thing”. The last time we had such conformity or groupthink, we had the soft landing brigade reassure the country that “everything would be grand” and their models said so. Well in the end we weren’t so grand, were we? More

October 29, 2015

Is it possible that we have got ourselves into the position where we have a housing crisis again, where those at the bottom and middle can’t find a place to live and those moving from the middle upwards are locked into, yet again, bidding wars for homes where the speculator and the owner are pitted against each other? Could we be in the situation where investors and large foreign funds are sitting on land waiting for the prices to go up in order to make a killing, thus exacerbating the supply shortage? It’s hard to believe – after everything we have been through – but it’s true. More

October 26, 2015

Even at these historically low rates, don’t fix your mortgage. Interest rates are going lower. Renegotiate now if you can! Don’t take my word for it: listen to Mario Draghi. More

October 22, 2015

Perhaps the most haunting piece of sculpture in Ireland is the group of gaunt, skeletal famine figures on Dublin’s docklands. They are simply walking, to somewhere, to a better place. Sculptor Rowan Gillespie has captured these desperate images of tortured souls, their defeated faces and sunken eyes. Gillespie was inspired by sketches drawn by charitable Quakers working in rural Cork during the winter of 1846. Years ago, when I first saw these ghoulish figures in the Docklands, I was immediately transported back to the desperate Ireland of our ancestors. Maybe that’s what great art does, it gets under your skin. 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?