Articles: Celtic Tiger %


June 24, 2014

Years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to work for Jack Welch of GE fame at close quarters. It is the sort of invaluable experience that is hard to replicate, even if, at times, his pace of work was shocking for someone 30-odd years his junior. During the period we had time to chat about all sorts of things. More

June 3, 2014

Last week, there was lots of talk about individual politicians but, in truth, these people – although mostly well-intentioned – don’t actually matter in terms of the economy. All the main Irish parties believe in the same economic orthodoxy, so in a sense they are irrelevant. Remember, it was economic orthodoxy that got us into this mess, so it’s hardly the most likely route out of the crisis. More

May 29, 2014

This week 100 years ago, a young Serb was practising his shot in a Bosnian forest. A month later, he would be successful in his murderous mission. John Redmond, the undisputed leader of Nationalist Ireland, had, after an epic parliamentary struggle, just forced through the Government of Ireland Act. Home Rule was here. It had massive public support. More

May 19, 2014

If you were worried about the Dublin property market entering bubble territory, then the government’s plans unveiled during the week, makes that bubble more, not less likely. More

May 5, 2014

Years ago, in 2006, this column coined the expression ‘ghost estates’ after a drive from Castlebar to Dublin, where I saw row after row of these estates being built outside provincial villages. That year, over 90,000 houses were built in Ireland. I had no idea that this expression ‘ghost estate’ would find its way into the sorry lexicon of the era, but it did. More

May 1, 2014

In my 2007 book ‘The Generation Game’, I wrote “Anglo Irish bank is little more than an out-of-control hedge fund leveraging themselves and their clients into property”. The lawyers for the publishers insisted that the name Anglo be dropped, for fear of litigation. So the published sentence replaced the words Anglo Irish Bank with the more general “certain well-known Dublin banks”. More

April 7, 2014

The frenzy has started again. Six years after a property boom practically destroyed our economy, we are at the same nonsense again. When are we ever going to learn that buying and selling over-priced houses to each other is not going to make us rich, but will make us poor? More

January 23, 2014

Recently there has been lots of talk about who is buying Ireland. Foreign investors are buying Irish government debt and foreign funds are buying Irish prime property assets. Both of these developments are taken as barometers of how foreigners perceive this country. More

November 21, 2013

A bonus is supposed to be an incentive for an employee to be more productive. In the case of a hospital chief executive, presumably a bonus should be related to running a better hospital.  You’d think that has to be linked to patient care – both in terms of its efficiency and the experience of the patient. It should also factor in other hospital workers, making sure they are not only efficient, but that there is high staff morale. More

November 14, 2013

‘Teenage Kicks’ wouldn’t have been recorded without the Credit Union. It’s hard to imagine Derry without the Undertones. Today Derry is a very different place to the Derry of the mid-1970s when the band formed but, for this visitor, Derry and The Undertones still go together. And it wouldn’t have happened without a £400 loan from the very credit union that John Hume set up in 1960 – the first ever in Ireland. More

Articles: Celtic Tiger

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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