Articles: Debt %
June 12, 2014
If you only look at one chart today to understand the story of Bank of Ireland, this is the one here. More
June 9, 2014
If you only have to look at one chart this week, let it be the one on this page (chart one). 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 22, 2014
What better city for a football lover to be in this week than Madrid? I have always loved Spanish football commentary. Even though I haven’t a word of Spanish, I love the rapid-fire speech, the dramatic rolling Rs, the intensity and pace of the commentators and of course, the demented celebrations when a goal is scored. 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 3, 2014
What is the true state of the housing market in Ireland and what does it mean for you? There’s a huge amount of hype, speculation and sales talk doing the rounds and in this cacophony and noise, it is hard to get a true picture. One way to look at the property market is through the eyes of two very different generations of Irish people. More
February 6, 2014
A few years ago, a comedian had me in stitches with his sketch of Aldi jokes. The plot line was that a shopper goes into Aldi looking to buy cheap meat and milk and comes out with a leg of lamb, a pint of milk, a snorkel, a tent and an angle grinder. Things were just so cheap and the range so indiscriminate, that he simply had to buy the angle grinder at the price, even if he had no obvious angles to grind. As for the snorkel and the tent, well they are the sorts of things that go together in your head when you are in Aldi, aren’t they? More
January 20, 2014
Ahead of the big World Economic Forum (WEF) annual jamboree in Davos this week, the big institutions – such as the IMF – are setting out their stall, making predictions about the next year or so. 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
October 24, 2013
The other day I was talking to a mechanic friend of mine who has a garage down the country in a smallish town. He told me an extraordinary story about a friend of his who came into the garage a few weeks back to get his car touched up before he flogged it online. The story explains why an economy needs demand as well as supply to boost the recovery. In the past week since the Budget, there has been lots of talk about job creation through boosting supply. This little tale explains why boosting supply is not enough. More
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?