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July 30, 2015

Last week for the first time the average house price in Sydney passed one million Aussie dollars. This is big news for us because the majority of the Irish people who have moved to Australia are employed in offshoots of the property industry. When property markets rise, there is an attendant rise in demand for almost everything. When credit fuels the property party, the demand for employment rises, so too do wages and the cost of living. Perhaps it’s not surprising that friends in Australia have horror stories about the price of almost everything. More

July 27, 2015

I am on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, quite shocked. I have just put my card into an ATM to get £200 and realise that it has cost me nearly €300. I was aware that the British currency was rocketing, but this exchange rate difference is extraordinary and is brilliant news for Irish exporters. More

July 23, 2015

Every night outside the hotel where I stayed in Havana, hundreds of local teenagers gathered, jostling to try to access the hotel’s wi-fi service. Local entrepreneurs have sold them an app, fashioned by local programmers, that sometimes outwits the hotel’s internet security settings. More

July 20, 2015

It could have been 2002 all over again. There was Bertie in the dock running rings around his inquisitors and just up the road, the social partners were at the new-fangled National Economic Dialogue discussing how to divvy up the spoils of the economy. All we needed was Robbie Keane to snatch a last-minute goal against the Germans and we’d be sorted once more! More

July 16, 2015

The euro is one recession away from implosion and its architects know this. The next time the European economy slows down, this thing will blow apart. Indeed, it might not necessarily need a continent-wide downturn for the next fracture. More

July 13, 2015

Did you know that the Marshall Plan for Germany after the Second World War was only introduced after the first plan (the Morgenthau plan) was abandoned because it was deemed unworkable? The first plan called The Post-Surrender Program for Germany was the one that the US and Britain wanted to implement and it centered on the complete “pastoralisation” of defeated Germany. More

July 9, 2015

The other day Enda Kenny speculated aloud that Greece should follow Ireland. Michael Noonan thinks that too. Apparently, they should do what we did and, if Greece did, there’d be no problems. More

July 6, 2015

It is difficult to overestimate the seriousness of the Greek crisis, not just for Greece, but for Ireland too. Let us be very clear, the choice being presented is between amputation or recuperation. More

July 2, 2015

Havana is a strange place from which to write about Greece. Cuba has been cut off for years, access to information is limited, people can’t travel and the Party is so paranoid that the Internet is barely available. However, what happens next in Greece and in Europe is less a matter of news and more a matter of analysis about what happens when people feel the world and their assumptions have changed forever. More

June 29, 2015

In her groundbreaking book Eichmann In Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt, the Jewish German intellectual who fled the Nazis, coined the expression “the banality of evil”. She reported on the Eichmann trial and, after closely studying the butcher of Auschwitz, she made the central point that, rather than being fanatics or psychopaths, many profoundly evil people are deeply normal. 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?