The fall in oil prices could represent the equivalent of a trillion-dollar tax cut for the global economy. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

As recently as August, barely four months ago, it was possible to describe Ireland’s economic recovery as “tentative”. Two pieces by this columnist – (...)

An oilfield in Iraq. The oil market is analysed more than any other, and for good reason – it really is that important.  Photograph: Reuters

An oil price fall of 40 per cent constitutes an economic shock of major proportions. It will, if sustained, have profound implications for just about (...)

Social  media enhances our interactions with fellow human beings but also poses great risks. Photograph: Camelia Dobrin/Ikon Images

In the United States, about 30,000 people die each year in road incidents. Roughly the same number are killed by guns. We observe these tragedies and (...)

An Apple watch at an Apple event in California. Technology has essentially shifted the profitability of the telephone and newspaper industries to Apple and Google

Several books about business have been written over the years with the title Blown to Bits. They have explored a common theme: how the internet threat(...)

Jean-Claude Trichet: We have his letters, but we will probably never know exactly what former ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet said to Brian Lenihan. Photograph: Bloomberg

One of the many curiosities about the now infamous letters sent by the European Central Bank (ECB) to the Irish Government is that they are letters. I(...)

Company lending is a risky business with characteristics common to other forms of credit but also with its own unique challenges

Hopes are high that the new Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) will boost lending to credit starved SMEs. Cynics say that this will be th(...)

Michael Noonan: unlikely to agree with recent criticism of Ireland in the New York Times for displaying an apparent lack of interest in corporate tax reform. Photograph: Alan Betson

One aspect of the recently published Finance Bill that caught the eye was the tweak to the scheme that allows executives of some firms, usually foreig(...)

“The Common Travel Area (CTA) is utterly inconsistent: it means no queues and no passport controls when we travel to Heathrow and Gatwick, but usually involves queues and always a passport check when travelling through Dublin Airport.” Photograph:  Steve Parsons/PA Wire

In his epic work The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, David Landes tells an old joke that explains why communism failed. Boris and Ivan are two peasants(...)

 Anyone who earns €70,000 or more (or who merely aspires one day to earn that much) is on their own. Photo: Bloomberg
Plucking the SME goose

Some of the clearest messages of the budget were, amongst other things, deeply cynical. Anyone who earns €70,000 or more (or who merely aspires one da(...)

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: As some of the power has seeped back to Dublin, the transition has elicited another form of instability: narrow sectional interests flex their muscles for the first time in what seems an age

The way in which we formulate and implement fiscal policy is not fit for purpose. The run-up to each budget has become a lobbyist’s paradise; politica(...)