Twenty Elevenses

January Another cold snap returns following a brief thaw around Christmas. Public anger grows when a Prime Time documentary reveals that NAMA developers  are using precious salt and grit to exfoliate their wives in helicopters while ambulances full of orphans are stranded on icebergs in the Lee. February The IMF do their first quarterly review

Present Tense

This week the country defrosted long enough for everyone to start buying their Christmas presents. Unfortunately, a large percentage of those presents won’t be the right ones. Buying for children, for example, can be laden with pitfalls. You’ll often hear adults declare “sure they’ll end up getting more fun out of the box”. If you

A TD Sum

For all its faults, the Dáil is one of the most potent symbols of our sovereignty. I’m visiting it on Budget Day. I’ve never been here before; so, like Bosco going through the magic door, I’m about to see what’s on the other side. As I arrive, a number of protesters are outside banging pots

No Taste For Accounting

Budget Day – December 7th. It’s dreaded by some but for many there’s a sense that we need to hear the bad news now and put an end to the paralysis that has gripped the country. Well now on, you may be able to get a head start on this. Here, for the first

International Monetary Fun

Last week, I published exclusive extracts from the personal diary of Wolfgang Uppenhaus, one of the IMF’s leading representatives here in Ireland. His first day in Ireland was a whirlwind. Looking at Anglo’s accounts, being ignored by Brian Lenihan, meeting Bertie in the cupboard and seeing the Prime Minister being tired and emotional. Despite a

Cheeky Imfs

Last week there were rumours about a tall Hungarian floating around Government departments. But this week it’s official. They’re here. Some financey foreigners with even tans, white teeth and steely humourless glares have arrived in the country and will be looking at the books. The Irish are always fascinated by what the outside world thinks


The publishers aren’t interested. Shockingly, it now seems unlikely that any of my four recession themed books – see A Novel Idea – will ever be printed. A rather unsavoury film studio in California have bought the rights to Permission To Build, License to Love, my steamy novel about passion and lust in An Bord

Open to Interpretation

They say that music hath the power to charm the savage breast. I can’t comment. My own breasts are fairly tame. What I do know is that music has the power to confuse. Time and again, a singer’s muttered delivery has caused me to create a strange alternative to the songwriter’s original lyrics. What I

Department Stories

Our eyes meet across the room. I recognise his expression – a mixture of despair and apprehension. His mouth opens to form a silent word. “Help.” I smile weakly in reply, knowing his pain but powerless to assist. Then he’s gone. Disappeared behind a rail of pink fluffy dressing gowns. My wife and I are


The mid-term break will mean different things to different children. Some boys and girls are being brought on a little holiday by their parents. Others are up the town causing mayhem and getting ASBOs because their parents have forgotten all about the mid-term break. Years ago, in my country childhood, the mid-term break meant one

Greece is the word

My first travel article. I really plunged in at the deep end – exploring the remote and hard-to-reach holiday resorts of Crete. I’d never been on a package holiday. In fact, I used to be a bit of a package holiday snob. Lie in the sun while someone else organises your fun for you? Nothing

A Novel Idea

That’s more of it now. Russia beating us on Saturday, Robbie Keane’s penalty Tuesday night, and now the Booker prize snatched from us. All this week is missing is some hoor from Moody’s, Standard and Poors or Fitch chipping in to downgrade our credit rating. I’m sick of hearing what Fitch have to say anyway.