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July 25, 2016

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

July 21, 2016

Last Friday night my Ryanair flight arrived into Zadar airport in Croatia just before midnight. The plane was full of young Irish people pretty well tanked up on their way to the Ultra Music Festival in Split. More

July 18, 2016

We are told that the Irish economy grew by 26 per cent in 2015. Fortune is indeed looking up in Ireland: unemployment is falling while retail sales, tax revenue and government spending are moving along at about 4 per cent. But a 26 per cent growth rate? American economist Paul Krugman was right to dismiss the figures as “leprechaun economics”More

July 18, 2016

Will the terrorist attack in France affect the outcome of the next French presidential election? Will the average French person be swayed by the atrocity to vote for Marine Le Pen as the only candidate who will “stand up” to terrorism? My sense is that, as with Brexit, the mainstream media is misjudging the electorate. The central media position on Le Pen is that while the National Front will do well in the first round of the election – as a sort of protest vote – when push comes to shove, French people will see sense and vote for the centrist candidate. More

July 14, 2016

Usually, the fantasies indulged on July 12th in Ireland are played out up the road in the North. These are fantasies about past glories and are celebrated by the kind of people who the 20th century (let alone the 21st century) left behind. Rather than being a sign of confidence and strength, the Twelfth simply reinforces the political and economic cul-de-sac up which the unionists have waltzed. However, this year, fantasies were not limited to our separated brethren. More

July 11, 2016

So now, two weeks after the British vote that shook the world, where are we? I would like, if you’ll allow me, to take altitude from the entire process and try to see what Brexit tells us about our world. I’d also like to link the Brexit vote with the next two big elections, in the US and France in November and May, and offer it as the reason why Fine Gael “lost” the election here. More

July 7, 2016

Brexit changes everything. The British will leave the EU. There can be little doubt about that. How and when it happens are now matters of debate, but it will come to pass. All the legalistic talk about whether it will be politically possible for the UK to leave and whether the British Parliament must sanction this is simply the technocratic fantasy of a profoundly undemocratic elite that has been traumatised by the referendum. More

July 4, 2016

Ireland has just been given one of its luckiest breaks. Britain has handed us, on a plate, the opportunity to be the Anglo-American world’s investment location of choice. Maybe we don’t realise it yet. Ireland is now perfectly positioned to be a globalised, English-speaking, free-trading area, which could attract limitless international capital that will transform the country and the society. More

June 30, 2016

So now that the near-hysterical reaction to Brexit from most of “serious” Ireland is easing up, let us see what is likely to happen next. On one prominent weekend radio show, the mainstream view, fuelled by Friday’s apocalyptic utterances from the deeply Remain side of the Irish media/political/business establishment, tottered from sneering at the electorate in Britain to predicting Armageddon. More

June 27, 2016

In football, a certain type of player emerges when his team needs him most. He is a leader on the pitch at crucial times and makes the right choices, which matter most. Right now Ireland needs such a political leader. It is time to be calm, rational and act in Ireland’s self-interest. 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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