Articles %


June 27, 2017

County Down is one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland. It’s a pity so few of us head up the M1 to witness the hauntingly empty beauty just a few miles to the north. Sitting in the Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle as the sun is going down behind the vertiginous Mournes, it’s difficult to imagine a more peaceful place on the island. However, this being the North, I can hear in the distance the local Orange pipe band practicing ahead of the “Glorious 12th”More

June 19, 2017

Allegedly, the next election and the one after that and the one after that will be fought for the hearts and minds of the “people who get up early in the morning”. Therefore, the battleground is a massive geographical arc of new estates and houses stretching from on the coast at Drogheda out west to Mullingar, down to Portlaoise, sweeping down to Carlow and then finishing up at the sea again in Arklow. This is where alarms go off well before six-thirty in the morning. For these commuters, RTÉ’s ‘Morning Ireland’ is in reality ‘mid-Morning Ireland’ because they are up and out well before 7am. More

June 12, 2017

Politics is very odd. Last January, following the “cash for ash” scandal in the North, it seemed that Arlene Foster’s career was over. Today, she struts the UK political stage as the ultimate kingmaker. More

June 6, 2017

Years ago, a mate of mine, the son of a hard-working Jewish butcher from Brooklyn, managed to get into Harvard. This was a huge undertaking for this average family without the financial resources to pay Ivy League fees. But they managed, as families tend to do. They saved, scrimped and borrowed so eventually the son emerged from one of America’s finest universities with brilliant results. He hasn’t looked back since. More

May 29, 2017

Brexit, Trump and the victory of the profoundly Eurocentric and tax-harmonizing Macron have focused our attention on exactly what type of economy we have here. What are our alliances? Where does our interest lie and how best should we navigate the next few years? In short, the question now is who, in economic terms, are we? More

May 20, 2017

On Thursday evening, after a day finalising a new documentary on Brexit and Ireland, which airs on RTÉ One on Monday night, I slumped down, like so many hundreds of thousands of Irish workers, knackered in front of the TV. It was well gone “wine o’clock”, so with a deserved glass in hand, I flicked through the options. More

May 15, 2017

We’ve always been told that Cork is a bit special. As the only Dublin cousin of a Cork family, I know how serious the crime of being born in Dublin is viewed by the southern tribe. Forgiveness is rarely mentioned or even entertained; tolerance and pity is the best that such a deracinated creature can expect. More

May 8, 2017

What would happen if Jihadists took control of Europe? More

April 30, 2017

Are you a real Trekkie? If so, you’ll know the answer to the following question: which was the only episode of ‘Star Trek’ ever banned in Ireland and Britain — and why? More

April 24, 2017

There’s nothing better than a glass of sugary coca cola the chilly morning after too many Côte du Rhônes to clear the head. I’m in Paris about to head south to Marseilles trying to make sense of this fascinating French election and, more to the point, trying to understand why financial markets are — up to now — so sanguine, given the enormity of what is at stake. More

Articles

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?

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