May 25, 2015
Many years ago, I spent a summer working in Canada, where the national hero at the time was Wayne Gretzky, the brilliant ice hockey player. Gretzky was so good that when he retired, his number – 99 – was retired from all North American professional hockey teams. More
May 21, 2015
Brave fishermen from Dingle saved five Scottish fishermen whose trawler got into difficulty off the Atlantic coast yesterday. The Scots were brought safely to Kerry and are fine now. More
May 18, 2015
Did you know that this week the pampered, well-paid mandarins in the Department of Finance agitated for higher wages for themselves, while at the same time advising that the minimum wage for the poorest workers shouldn’t rise? More
May 14, 2015
When asked, the great American satirist PJ O’ Rourke responded: “Yes of course I’d like to come to Ireland in June”. And that was about it. O’Rourke, the most quoted living man in ‘The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations’, will be coming to Dalkey on June 13 to speak at the Book Festival. More
May 11, 2015
Ronnie Quinn is a big, broad shouldered man, with a great story. Not only is he a hurling fanatic and president of the Hurling Club of Argentina, he was – as a bilingual Irish Argentinean conscript in the Argentine army – the “unofficial” translator for the Argentinean surrender to the British army at the end of the Malvinas/Falklands war. He has written an excellent book about his war experiences. More
May 7, 2015
At first, it tasted a bit like pork. Some of them vomited at the idea but, after a few morsels – nearly freezing to death from hypothermia and driven demented by hunger after over a week without food – they sat on the side of the Andes and chewed on their dead friends in silence. Apparently, you could tell the ones who had eaten human flesh due to the ghastly greenish tinge on their faces. Cannibalism was not something the Christian Brothers of the Stella Maris College in Montevideo had prepared them for. More
May 5, 2015
Could the governor of the Central Bank have resigned early because he expects some nasty surprises to come down the track, and because he doesn’t want to be around if a mortgage timebomb explodes? More
April 30, 2015
Today, this column is going to be uncharacteristically blunt. This grumpiness is because much of yesterday was spent reading the 62-page economic document that the Government unveiled as part of its new ‘Spring Economic Bulletin.’ More
April 27, 2015
Edinburgh is a majestic city. The view, in bright sunshine, from the statue of Adam Smith on the Royal Mile down the hill towards the New Town must be one of the finest urban vistas anywhere in the world. Today, the St Andrew flags are flying everywhere, and with the SNP set to win more than 50 of Scotland’s 59 seats in Westminster, there is a real feeling that the nationalist movement is predominant. More
April 23, 2015
On February 5, 1889, the City of Dresden, a hulking old ship, disgorged 2,000 immigrants onto the sweltering docks of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aries. They were all Irish. This was the largest number of immigrants to dock from a single vessel ever in Argentinian history. 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?