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October 24, 2016

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of yet another sorry saga in Irish economics and finance? Will the finance bill published Thursday, which slapped a right and proper 20% withholding tax on the profit of property funds operating in Ireland, signal a shock selling of Irish commercial property? More

October 20, 2016

Do you get the feeling that Ireland has possibly the weakest Government in years, when it may well need the strongest? This fragile Government faces an internal insurrection led by public servants who feel that the recent recovery in the economy should be theirs. It’s hard to fault the logic of the teachers and the gardaí. After all, they have been led to believe there is a direct link between tax revenues and their salaries. More

October 17, 2016

If I were setting the ordinary level Leaving Cert economics paper my first question, an easy one, to get the students started would be a simple one about supply and demand. It would go something like this: More

October 13, 2016

We are faced with similar concerns on the horizon now. Unlike 2008, when this country went bust, or in 2012, when the euro as a currency was in real danger of falling apart, there is no serious internal threat. In 2012, the world’s central bankers cutting interest rates to zero prevented the disintegration of the euro. This may have saved the currency then, but it means that today central bankers have no ammunition left if there is another downturn. Interest rates are as low as they can go. More

October 10, 2016

I’m sitting opposite the “Spitfire” Meeting Room in Southampton airport. The echoes of “their finest hour” are everywhere on the south coast of England, not surprisingly. Southampton, one of the main ports for British trade with Europe, voted overwhelmingly for Brexit, proving that there’s no end to the self-harm that certain parts of England will endure in the name of sovereignty. More

October 6, 2016

The only constant in life is change. Once we appreciate this, we should embrace change and profit from it. The aim for all of us is to be resilient in the face of change, and sufficiently resourceful not only to withstand change, but to thrive on it. More

October 3, 2016

Today, I am writing about trends in the property market against the background of moving house, and so this article will be a little bit of testimony as well as proper analysis. More

September 29, 2016

Last week in Boston I passed by a place I used to work cleaning dishes in the 1980s. The restaurant/bar, on Boston’s fancy Newbury Street, is still there — which is quite an achievement in a fast-changing industry. As is now the norm in many American bars, the TV is always on. I stuck my head in nostalgically, only to be met by Donald Trump’s angry face on a big screen. More

September 26, 2016

Is it any surprise that the Web Summit decided to head to Lisbon? I am in the amazing Portuguese capital today speaking at a conference. It seems that the entire city has decided that hosting conferences is sufficiently important for the modern brand of the city, that everything is designed to make the attendees feel special. More

September 22, 2016

I have never experienced America so divided. Even in liberal New York, there’s a palpable sense that Hillary is losing it and the horror of a Trump presidency is being entertained by almost everyone. 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?