Articles: Sunday Business Post %

June 29, 2015

In her groundbreaking book Eichmann In Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt, the Jewish German intellectual who fled the Nazis, coined the expression “the banality of evil”. She reported on the Eichmann trial and, after closely studying the butcher of Auschwitz, she made the central point that, rather than being fanatics or psychopaths, many profoundly evil people are deeply normal. More

June 26, 2015

The first days on the J1 were like the Gaeltacht with dollars. On the first night, loads of young Irish students from all over the country were thrown together in the New York YMCA with no real idea of what to do next, desperately trying to figure out where to live, who to hang out with, where to find work and how to make the few hundred dollars in your back pocket last until you got sorted. More

June 22, 2015

Whatever happens on Monday, Greece the country will survive this crisis – and the Greeks know it. The same can’t be said of the euro project – and we know it. More

June 8, 2015

It is regularly pointed out that Greece is only 2 per cent of eurozone GDP, but maybe we should consider that the plughole is also only 2 per cent of the bath. Greece matters not just politically and financially, but morally too and this is why the behaviour of Brussels – and by extension our own finance ministry – in this sorry tale has been appalling. More

June 2, 2015

Listening to the debate on Aer Lingus last week was like being propelled backwards to the 1970s when every country had to own an airline. The airline business, like almost every industry, has changed profoundly since then, yet the political language has hardly budged. Why do people think national when they are discussing the most international, by definition, of all industries? It seems like a national airline is an industrial fetish, a bit like the economic equivalent of Fifty Shades of Grey. More

May 25, 2015

Many years ago, I spent a summer working in Canada, where the national hero at the time was Wayne Gretzky, the brilliant ice hockey player. Gretzky was so good that when he retired, his number – 99 – was retired from all North American professional hockey teams. More

May 18, 2015

Did you know that this week the pampered, well-paid mandarins in the Department of Finance agitated for higher wages for themselves, while at the same time advising that the minimum wage for the poorest workers shouldn’t rise? More

May 5, 2015

Could the governor of the Central Bank have resigned early because he expects some nasty surprises to come down the track, and because he doesn’t want to be around if a mortgage timebomb explodes? More

April 27, 2015

Edinburgh is a majestic city. The view, in bright sunshine, from the statue of Adam Smith on the Royal Mile down the hill towards the New Town must be one of the finest urban vistas anywhere in the world. Today, the St Andrew flags are flying everywhere, and with the SNP set to win more than 50 of Scotland’s 59 seats in Westminster, there is a real feeling that the nationalist movement is predominant. More

April 20, 2015

Birmingham is many things, but as a city to visit, I have yet to find its attraction. It is home to one of the biggest Irish populations in Britain. In the pretty run-down inner suburbs of south Birmingham, the Kerryman and the Dubliner pubs face each other on either side of the road from the airport. When my dad was a kid during World War II, most of the working population of Dun Laoghaire worked full time – but they worked full time in Birmingham not Dublin. Much to Mr de Valera’s chagrin, they worked in the factories of the RAF producing planes for the eventual Allied victory over Germany. More

Articles: Sunday Business Post

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?