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October 20, 2014

The traffic on Paseo de la Castellana in the centre of Madrid is backed up. This is another sign, according to Spanish commentators, that things are looking up. Just as parts of Dublin are doing well while the rest of the economy is still shuddering from the after-effects of the deepest recession in living memory, both Barcelona and the capital city of Spain are growing rapidly. More

October 16, 2014

The tourist boat ploughs through the fast-flowing Rhine. On either side of us, barges weighed down by tonnes of scrap metal sparkle in the bright autumn sunshine as they cleave upstream towards Cologne. This river has been Germany’s mercantile artery for centuries and the prosperity of cities like Dusseldorf is based on being a massive inland port of this giant European waterway. More

October 13, 2014

The other day a friend of mine, driven demented by her son, screamed: “Will he ever grow up?” More

October 9, 2014

The Central Bank has gone back to the future, dredging the 1970s for 21st century solutions to the dysfunctional housing market. More

October 6, 2014

Ireland is about to move into the Repo Man phase of its credit and debt cycle. This phase is not pretty, because when the repossessor comes to get you, things can turn very nasty, very quickly. More

October 2, 2014

What will stop house prices rising at double-digit rates from here? More

September 29, 2014

I woke up on Friday thinking we must be back to the good times. Morning Ireland was gushing about rising property prices, the ruling party is back to blatant cronyism and there was a mega cocaine bust off the south coast. More

September 25, 2014

The N80 outside the Talbot Hotel in Carlow was jammed at 6.45am as hundreds of headlights blurred into one, all going in the same direction. A tailback of trucks, vans, 4×4′s and dozens of Toyota Corrollas snaked its way relentlessly towards Stradbally. More

September 22, 2014

A few weeks ago this column stated that the economy was growing at 4 per cent plus and would grow much faster than most economists thought. The contention was partly based on the array of figures that were coming in more positive than before. However, the main factor was the “feel” that could be sensed out in the economy. When you are self-employed, this feel or what I termed a few weeks ago the “buzz” is perceptible. You know when it’s not there and, if the buzz returns, you can sense it too. More

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

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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