Articles: Sunday Business Post %

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

April 13, 2015

Perhaps the best description of the journey from solvency to bankruptcy comes from Hemingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises. Two characters have just met and are talking intently, each trying to figure out what the other is doing in rural Spain in the 1920s. One of them asks the other, ‘How did you go bankrupt?’ The other responds, ‘Two ways. Gradually, and then suddenly.’ More

April 7, 2015

Theocracies tend to project their power and influence in the strangest ways. From local mystic rituals to get the natives onside, to subtle proselytising, to overt attempts to convert what my children would describe as “randomers”. More

March 30, 2015

It hasn’t gone away, you know. The Greek crisis is back and this time it’s serious. The Greeks are about to run out of money again. Athens faces a €1.7 billion bill for wages and pensions at the end of the month and a further €450 million loan payment to the IMF on April 9 – and it doesn’t have the cash. More

March 16, 2015

Over the past year, the euro is 25 per cent down against the dollar – our main trading partner. This is the currency that was supposed to bring stability to Ireland. Losing a quarter of your value in 12 months is hardly stability, now, is it? More

March 9, 2015

AIB emerged from the “Munster & Leinster Bank” and for years it was dominated by men from Cork. There can hardly be a better place to write about AIB than from a small café in the pretty area of Cork known as Sunday’s Well. The unique Victorian and Georgian architecture echoes the mercantile past of the city, dominated as it was by the famous “Merchant Prince” families. Below me, the fast flowing river Lee is swollen by a few days of rain. Let’s hope the city’s river defences have improved since a few years ago, when the Lee broke its banks and flooded the Mardyke. 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?