Articles %

August 29, 2016

Every Saturday throughout the early 1960s, a dull drone could be heard over the Colorado plains. The light aircraft flew low, at around 2,000 feet. Inside, the pilot plotted future roads, suburban housing schemes and new business parks. More

August 25, 2016

It’s very rare that an Irish writer will celebrate any achievements of our nearest rival on the sports field, but we must acknowledge the amazing achievements of the Brits in the Olympics. To take such a hoard of medals is impressive; to do so when you were so far behind 20 years ago suggests a management and business lesson for all of us. More

August 22, 2016

How much will be left for your pension? This is the question you should be asking yourself because the notion that the tap will be still on, with crisp euros gushing out when you reach retirement age, is at the very least a dubious proposition. More

August 18, 2016

Could Ireland possibly be regarded as a land of milk and honey? Nah, I didn’t think so either; that is, until I came to Croatia this summer and heard that one of the most popular local pop songs is about escaping the scarcity of Croatia for the abundance of Dublin, via Ryanair. The song resonates here as, over the past three years, 10,000 young Croats have emigrated to Ireland, according to local newspapers.  More

August 8, 2016

The footballing jamboree that is the Premier League kicks off next week. This is its 25th year. For those of you who remember, 1992 was a significant year in football as not only did it mark the beginning of the Premier League, but it was also the year that Leeds United won the last English First Division league. More

August 4, 2016

What is going on in the Irish banks? It’s perplexing that after all the billions of euro pumped into the banks, they are still fragile and — according to the latest European stress tests — Irish banks are among the weakest in Europe. How could that be when the economy is growing at three times the EU average, when the demand for credit is strong and when interest rates are at their lowest level in years, underpinning local demand? More

August 1, 2016

Last week, my colleague Jack Horgan-Jones revealed in this paper that vulture funds, leveraged outfits that have already benefited enormously at the expense of you, the Irish taxpayer, are now using a loophole to pay no tax at all on their earnings here. More

July 28, 2016

Today, my column comes from Johannesburg, written in the café of the Apartheid Museum close to Soweto. Here is an example of what the great German philosopher Hannah Arendt, reporting on the Adolf Eichmann trial, described as “the banality of evil”. The sheer effort the Apartheid regime put into keeping people segregated is phenomenal in its tedious attention to the smallest detail, snooping, spying, humiliating, terrorising and, ultimately, losing. More

July 25, 2016

Are you a real Trekkie? If so, you’ll know the answer to the following question: which was the only episode of Star Trek ever banned in Ireland and Britain – and why? More

July 21, 2016

Last Friday night my Ryanair flight arrived into Zadar airport in Croatia just before midnight. The plane was full of young Irish people pretty well tanked up on their way to the Ultra Music Festival in Split. 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?