September 3, 2015
There can be few more beautiful places in Ireland than Inis Meáin this morning. I am standing in warm sunlight on the top of Dún Chonchúir, an ancient pre-Christian fort. Like all forts, it was built to be defensive and it was positioned on a slight elevation right in the centre of this flat island so that the inhabitants could look out and see friends and foes alike coming and going in Galway Bay. More
August 31, 2015
As we headed out on the Happy Hooker from Doolin, the second mate sidled up beside me and whispered, “Not to worry, but hold on, there’s going to be a bit of rock ’n’ roll. Rock ’n’ roll is what he called it. The waves were enormous. More
August 31, 2015
This week Irish boxing lost Billy Walsh, the key man in the success of the Irish boxing team over the past ten years. The story of Irish boxing is something akin to David and Goliath. It’s such a brilliant tale, and in the context of the economic recovery, it is a salutary lesson for every small business. So let’s tell the story. More
August 27, 2015
Almost 20 years ago in Hong Kong, my mind was opened to what actually happens when financial markets unravel. I witnessed how panic spreads like a virus from market to market. It was 1997 and the Asian crisis, which had started as a small problem in Thailand, suddenly engulfed the entire region. By the time it was all over, Russia had defaulted, as did huge swathes of South Korean industry. Meanwhile, LTCM – the most feted investment fund in the US – imploded. In such a panic, markets that appeared strong become weak and traders who appeared to be superhuman, masters of the universe, are revealed to have feet of clay. More
August 24, 2015
What happens when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing? At the very least, you drop the ball. More
August 20, 2015
Did you know that Ireland has two new world champions whose achievements should be celebrated, and the significance of their victory should be appreciated in every school up and down the country? More
August 17, 2015
This morning in a small Croatian village my family partook in something called ‘Radna Akcija’ (Work Action). This is a throwback to communist times in Yugoslavia when everyone in the village was expected to “muck in” and help build something for the benefit of the village. In the old days, this may have been building a road, helping extend the water supply, digging the channels for a new sewage system or simply cleaning up after a village party. More
August 13, 2015
If you wanted proof that we are indeed on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution that will profoundly change our society, look no further than Google’s announcement yesterday that it will split into two companies. More
August 10, 2015
Good morning from sunny, roasting hot Croatia! After the wettest and coldest July in years, can you blame me for getting out to the sun? Did you know that two weeks ago, Dublin airport’s weather station recorded a temperature of 3.9C! This turned out to be the lowest July temperature since 1942. More
August 6, 2015
When I was a boy, I had a huge map of the world on my bedroom wall. I loved to look at it for hours to see where all these exotic place were, how their names were pronounced and, using an old school ruler, how far away from Dublin these places were. The yearning to break free from Ireland runs deep, it seems. 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?