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
June 26, 2015
The first days on the J1 were like the Gaeltacht with dollars. On the first night, loads of young Irish students from all over the country were thrown together in the New York YMCA with no real idea of what to do next, desperately trying to figure out where to live, who to hang out with, where to find work and how to make the few hundred dollars in your back pocket last until you got sorted. More
June 25, 2015
Did you know that on the same day that Greece – home of the first openly gay city, Sparta – was forced to humiliate itself again at the feet of the EU’s creditor nations, the isolated island of Pitcairn became the smallest nation to legalise same-sex marriage, despite having only 48 inhabitants and no gay couples? More
June 22, 2015
Whatever happens on Monday, Greece the country will survive this crisis – and the Greeks know it. The same can’t be said of the euro project – and we know it. More
June 18, 2015
We must go to Athens. Will you come if I can get the aunt to fork out 20 quid? More
June 11, 2015
In Argentina, football is a religion. If the derby between Boca and River Plate is Easter Sunday Mass, then the Bombonera Stadium, Boca’s home, is a Holy Trinity of the Vatican, Lourdes and Fatima – a sacred theatre of dreams, miracles and, depending on the score, extravagant benedictions. More
June 8, 2015
It is regularly pointed out that Greece is only 2 per cent of eurozone GDP, but maybe we should consider that the plughole is also only 2 per cent of the bath. Greece matters not just politically and financially, but morally too and this is why the behaviour of Brussels – and by extension our own finance ministry – in this sorry tale has been appalling. More
June 4, 2015
Today let’s talk about the Leaving Cert (and its ugly little brother, the Junior Cert). Let’s look at the sort of minds that are rewarded by the system and the sort of minds that are punished by it. Given that the Leaving Cert is the closest thing we Irish have to compulsory national service, it’s an experience that we all have a view on. 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?