March 30, 2015
It hasn’t gone away, you know. The Greek crisis is back and this time it’s serious. The Greeks are about to run out of money again. Athens faces a €1.7 billion bill for wages and pensions at the end of the month and a further €450 million loan payment to the IMF on April 9 – and it doesn’t have the cash. More
March 26, 2015
There can be few better feelings than successfully explaining something to someone and watching their face and their reaction, as something that was confusing and difficult becomes clear and straightforward. It is a beautiful thing to see the weight of incomprehension being replaced by the freedom of understanding. More
March 16, 2015
Over the past year, the euro is 25 per cent down against the dollar – our main trading partner. This is the currency that was supposed to bring stability to Ireland. Losing a quarter of your value in 12 months is hardly stability, now, is it? More
March 12, 2015
Is rural Ireland dying today? Or maybe a better question is, when wasn’t rural Ireland dying? It has always been the case that opportunities in cities are more plentiful and that people migrate from the countryside to the cities. More
March 9, 2015
AIB emerged from the “Munster & Leinster Bank” and for years it was dominated by men from Cork. There can hardly be a better place to write about AIB than from a small café in the pretty area of Cork known as Sunday’s Well. The unique Victorian and Georgian architecture echoes the mercantile past of the city, dominated as it was by the famous “Merchant Prince” families. Below me, the fast flowing river Lee is swollen by a few days of rain. Let’s hope the city’s river defences have improved since a few years ago, when the Lee broke its banks and flooded the Mardyke. More
March 5, 2015
Every morning just before 8am I walk our dog over Killiney Hill. On a crisp morning, which is most days actually, there are magnificent views from the Obelisk at the top of the hill out to the Irish Sea and back around in a sweeping arc from Bray Head to the Wicklow and the Dublin mountains. It is a wonderful way to wake up, even more refreshing these recent few days due to the icy east wind on the sleepy face. More
March 2, 2015
Could it happen again? This is the thought that went through my head, as I waited for the first question from the panel at the banking inquiry last Thursday morning. During the previous few weeks, I spent lots of late nights going through articles, books and documentary evidence written since 2000 on how an economic catastrophe builds. It’s funny how things seem so obvious in hindsight, but back then it was not clear to that many people. More
February 26, 2015
There must have been a collective sigh of relief in the halls of Ireland’s well-heeled, fee-paying schools yesterday, when the case brought by Mary Stokes against the practice of schools reserving places for the sons and daughters of past pupils was kicked out of the Supreme Court. More
February 23, 2015
This weekend, we are faced with the possibility of either a European Germany or a German Europe. It sounds stark, but there it is. More
February 19, 2015
Will the EU torpedo Greece? Will the ECB cause the Greek banking system to collapse? Will forcing a Europe-inspired bank run make it any more likely that the Greeks will be able to pay back more debt? What do you think? The short answer is: of course not. 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?