Articles: Irish Economy %


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 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 15, 2014

On Monday evening I was in Tesco in Ballybrack. Like every other supermarket in Ireland on a Monday evening it is full of women and the odd few men sent out to get things that the family have run out of like milk, bread and “stuff for the packed lunches”. The shoppers, overwhelmingly women, stopped in the aisles, priced stuff, weighed up their options and chose. This is how the economy works. Millions of everyday decisions taken by millions of people every day make up what is the economy. 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 17, 2014

I’ve had a soft spot for Limerick since the time a pretty Laurel Hill teenager from Ennis Road whispered to a freckly, 15-year-old redhead outside the ceili at Irish college that she thought he was special. More

April 14, 2014

My dad used to tell me about the numerous pawnbrokers in Dun Laoghaire, and how it was common for people to use them at the end of a week, or coming up to some big event, to get cash for clothes, jewellery or anything that could be used as collateral. If the person didn’t pay back the loan, the pawnshop sold the collateral. More

April 10, 2014

I am writing this from a small cafe just opposite the Old Bailey. For many Irishmen of my vintage, the Old Bailey is synonymous with IRA terrorists as well as innocent Irish people stitched up for crimes they didn’t commit. In my head, the Old Bailey reminds me of the 1970s and 1980s, a time when relations between Ireland and England were at their most strained. 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

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

Articles: Irish Economy

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?

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