Articles: News

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

November 7, 2013

The hotel ballroom is jammed. And this isn’t any old ballroom but the ballroom of the Al Faisalya Hotel in Riyadh – the most posh hotel in a city of posh hotels. I am writing this from the foyer of the hotel, having just finished a speech to Arab investors on the global economy in 2014. More

October 28, 2013

Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Catholicism without hell. Although he didn’t say as much, this is what Mario Draghi meant when he announced this week that he was prepared to see banks go bust in order to clean up the balance sheet of Europe’s ailing banking system. More

October 10, 2013

Imagine children’s allowance was paid not in cash but loaded on to a smart card that could only be spent in domestic shops and couldn’t be spent on certain items, such as cigarettes. Would that be a good idea? More

October 7, 2013

Nathan Rothschild was the richest man in Britain in 1836. His wealth was enormous. He financed the British Army in its war against Napoleon and legend has it that his private system of carrier pigeons got word back to him that the British had actually won at Waterloo when the mainstream report suggested the opposite. This knowledge prompted him to buy up all British government debt when the rest of London’s financiers were selling on misinformation. More

September 30, 2013

This day five years ago, the bosses of Ireland’s big banks came to the government with an ultimatum that went more or less like this: “We have run out of money, what are you going to do about it?”. More

September 23, 2013

There is something vaguely odd and actually quite comical about the sight of a Hasidic man, head to toe in black with a wildly elaborate fur hat perched on top of his ringlets, sweating in the warmth of Montreal’s Indian summer. The attachment to early 17th-century Eastern European clobber in the 21st century, seems a bit over the top. However, according to a friend of mine who knows about these things, the hat, its size and shape, denotes precisely what sub-branch of the Hassidim this man belongs to. More

September 12, 2013

For the last few years I have been invited to take part in the fantastic Google Zeitgeist and this year is no exception. I am looking forward to making the trip to Arizona. The talks are always interesting and the people vary from world leaders, tech savvy types and all other sorts in between. More

August 29, 2013

I have just woken up. It’s the middle of the day and I realise that sensible and serious people shouldn’t be snoozing in broad daylight. That said, I am a big believer in a nap when you feel the overwhelming post-lunch tiredness. In fact, napping at any time is good with me. More

August 15, 2013

Do you remember opening the envelope with your Leaving Cert results? Can you still feel the anxiety, the hopes, the disappointments and then the calculations, totting up points to see if you made the cut? More