Articles: Banks %

March 10, 2014

I am here at Abu Dhabi Airport. My flight was supposed to depart at 2.15am. It’s now 9am and we’ve been told the flight may take off at 11am. So you can imagine the state of the place and the state of me! There’s no point in getting angry at staff, who are trying their best to deal with a mega systems failure. There has been a collapse of the Etihad infrastructure: poor visibility due to fog, lights on the runways have gone out, crews are not able to make their connection and now there is a massive backlog of planes queuing up on the runways with no one to fly them. More

February 24, 2014

One of the interesting things about emerging market crises, is that when you are in one, it doesn’t feel like a crisis at all. Turkey has been buffeted by a political crisis and mass demonstrations, which could easily have spilled over into the nightmare playing out in Ukraine. Yet the situation has been calmed by both the protestors and the government. It doesn’t mean the problems have gone away, but it means that both sides have pulled back from the brink. More

February 10, 2014

On Friday morning the Germans threw the constitutional cat among the europhile pigeons by announcing that the ECB’s plan to save the bond markets of peripheral Europe, including Ireland, was unconstitutional. Yes, you read it right: any move by the ECB to save the euro by buying the bonds of over-leveraged peripheral countries was, according to the German constitutional court, against the German constitution. More

January 27, 2014

Do you remember the Undertones My perfect cousin’ about a perfect, mollycoddled cousin who was the apple of his mother’s eye and got on the nerves of all the other less-than-perfect cousins? More

January 13, 2014

Imagine the real economy in a pair of tight bottle green flairs, the likes of which you could hide a six back of Harp up. Imagine the perm, the bomber jacket and a luxurious ‘tache’. It is pure 1970s. The soundtrack is somewhere between the Bay City Rollers and Rory Gallagher’s Calling Card. The best footballer in the world, Johan Cryuff, smokes at half time; people make “trunk” calls and drink Cadet Cola. And most crucially, from an economic perspective, like in the 1970s, there is no credit. More

January 9, 2014

THE “red eye” flight, 7am Dublin to Dusseldorf, is half-empty. You can sense from the resigned, matter-of-fact way most of the passengers behave, that the people — mainly men — are veterans of this route. However, Irish business people in Germany are still a rare enough breed. More

January 6, 2014

On Friday night, I dropped my daughter off at Wezz in Donnybrook for the first time. This is a traumatic experience, but one which many thousands of Dublin fathers have either gone through, or will have to go through in years to come. Indeed, I myself went to Wezz – a teenage disco – when it was called Wesley and we, the boys and girls, went on the bus. These days, that has changed. More

January 2, 2014

On the day that’s in it, let’s examine some of the big economic and financial questions that will impact on our lives in 2014. More

December 30, 2013

Now that we are at the end of the year, here are a few things that 2013 taught us about economics, how our economy is doing and what determines where it goes from here. More

December 19, 2013

The Government’s new economic strategy was unveiled yesterday. It is supposed to outline new thinking for the next decade. Yet it seems very much like everything else that we have ever seen before. More

Articles: Banks

I write a column every week. This keeps me sane and hopefully, on my toes – but you can be the judge of that! The article appears in the Irish Times every Saturday. I just started writing this column (having recently left my column at the Irish Independent which I wrote for over 10 years). I cover 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?