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August 21, 2014

The Irish crisis happened because our banks were massively leveraged to over-expensive Irish property. That’s it. We all know the story. Everything that happened afterwards was the consequence of this banking idiocy, not the cause of the country’s economic plight. How unforgiveable would it be if this crisis ended with the Irish banks once again leveraged to expensive Irish property? More

August 18, 2014

I am sitting opposite the Latin Bridge in Sarajevo, where the First World War started one hundred years ago this month. Six weeks after the assassination by Gavrilo Princip of Franz Ferdinand came the actual outbreak of war. More

August 14, 2014

When I was a kid, a German guy moved in down the road and his dad said something that summed up his disbelief at the way Ireland worked and it has always stayed with me. More

August 11, 2014

Yesterday a friend of mine was supposed to fly to New York using two cheap business class tickets which his brother, a pilot on one of the big international airlines, can get as a perk for family. Up until Thursday there were lots of seats left on the route and there wasn’t a problem. More

August 7, 2014

The other night, where I am here on holiday, the local village had a huge festival. This involved part of the main square being turned into a massive inferno and once the embers were smouldering local people piled thousands of sardines on top of old iron bed frames, complete with ancient springs. These frames weighed down with fresh fish morphed into possibly the largest barbecue grill imaginable. The sardines were scoffed, washed down with lots of local wine. More

July 31, 2014

A “shadow banking system” is being constructed in Ireland. It has enormous potential to torpedo the future growth path and risks another banking crisis in time. More

July 28, 2014

I don’t care if it’s legal – it’s wrong. With these seven simple words, President Barack Obama drove a six-inch nail through the heart of Irish multinational tax policy and the legal jiggery-pokery that allows American companies to ”pretend they are Irish when they are not. More

July 26, 2014

News that property prices shot up again last month shouldn’t take you by surprise. Before we analyse, let’s just take stock of what is happening. More

July 24, 2014

The other day, I got some good news. More

July 21, 2014

When an airliner is blown out of the sky by people who want part of their country to break away, it’s time to actually take things seriously. This isn’t just some country. We are talking about Russia here and its southern border with Ukraine. The West (and that includes us) will now demand that the Russians disown their out-of-control compatriots in Ukraine. We will be treated to experts suggesting that this is evidence of the war mongering of the Russians, the instability of Putin and the need for Ukraine to move towards the EU with haste. 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?