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September 18, 2014

I am sitting in a hipster Californian café, surrounded on all sides by young men with luxuriant beards, tasteful tattoos and piercings, who are intensely scrolling through single-geared bicycle websites. They are sitting beside bronzed, very skinny, yet muscular women, who haven’t eaten since St Patrick’s Day. It’s an uneasy experience. More

September 15, 2014

In the summer of 1787, determined to show foreign ambassadors the might of Russian power in the newly-subjugated Ukraine and Crimea, Catherine the Great organised a boat trip down the Dnieper past modern-day Kiev. More

September 11, 2014

My earliest memories of Castle Street, Dalkey, were Saturday mornings in Dom McClure’s barbershop with my father. Dom had cut my Grandad’s hair, my Dad’s hair and now mine. More

September 8, 2014

Our economy is showing considerable signs of life. Many indicators, which were dormant for years, are now pointing upwards. The big question is whether this is something muscular, the fruition of a long lasting plan or is it a massive sugar rush, fuelled by six years of pent-up demand and renewed buyer panic in the housing market? More

September 4, 2014

Two things can be true at the same time. An economy can grow strongly and also be badly managed. The key is what Keynes called “animal spirits” which can’t be suppressed indefinitely. In fact, history suggests that economies can grow despite bad management, which begs the question how much could be achieved if economies were managed properly? More

September 1, 2014

As of this week, both my children are in secondary school. Time flies and in no time they will be finished school. If they were to ask me (which they don’t) what they should do after school, what should I say? If they ask, “Dad, what should I do for a living?” or, “Where should I work?” what would you tell your children? More

August 28, 2014

As I saw my children off to school this morning, I thought of the brilliant summer they just had. It was one of those early teenage and pre-teenage summers where everything is possible and where all sorts of opportunities present themselves in increasingly confusing varieties. It also struck me how much has changed in our world since they left school in June. More

August 25, 2014

There’s something about Dublin 6. Don’t you think? More

August 21, 2014

The Irish crisis happened because our banks were massively leveraged to over-expensive Irish property. That’s it. We all know the story. Everything that happened afterwards was the consequence of this banking idiocy, not the cause of the country’s economic plight. How unforgiveable would it be if this crisis ended with the Irish banks once again leveraged to expensive Irish property? More

August 18, 2014

I am sitting opposite the Latin Bridge in Sarajevo, where the First World War started one hundred years ago this month. Six weeks after the assassination by Gavrilo Princip of Franz Ferdinand came the actual outbreak of war. 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?