Articles: People %


May 12, 2014

Do you have teenage children? I have one such darling creature and another one soon to screech into his teens, so I know all you need to know about Beats. More

May 8, 2014

If you are a Liverpool fan, don’t read this! When I was young and playing football, I remember the routine at the kick-off from under-eights upwards. If it was our kick-off, the two wingers (usually small lads) tapped the ball to each other and rolled it back to the centre-half, usually the biggest lad on the field, who then hoofed it up as far as possible towards the opponent’s penalty box. 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 28, 2014

This week’s column comes to you from a very warm and sunny Istanbul, where I am working, for my sins. This is one of the world’s great cities and everywhere there is the evidence that this place has been at the centre of the world for close to 2,000 years, stretching down the ages from the Roman Eastern Empire to the centre of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were eventually deposed and replaced by Ataturk and his extraordinary secular vision in the early 20th century, who fashioned the new Republic out of the twin ingredients of science and nationalism. Now this secular republic is under threat by the renewed religious fever of Islamists in the government of Tayyip Erdogan. More

April 24, 2014

Sport is the ultimate winner- takes-all economy where the difference between first and second place is huge. No one remembers runners-up. It is all about glory – or glory and riches – and no one wants to be second best. This is why Moyes’ exit was so abrupt; Man Utd have come to expect better and there can be no room for sentiment in the economics of sport. More

April 21, 2014

The other day, I went for a coffee with one of the local priests here in Dalkey. Father Declan was chatting about all sorts of stuff, and we touched on the first year of Pope Francis and what it has meant. For millions of Catholics all over the world – whether practising or not – the image of a truly humble man, who says the right things and seems honestly interested in the poor, is a relief. 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

Articles: People

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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