Death of journalist and economist Paul Tansey


THE DEATH has taken place of the well-known economist and journalist Paul Tansey.

Mr Tansey (59) died suddenly yesterday morning while playing tennis in Co Wicklow.

He is survived by his wife, broadcaster and writer Olivia O'Leary, and their daughter Emily.

He was playing tennis at the Enniskerry home of his long-time friend, Senator Shane Ross, when he collapsed. He was taken to hospital by ambulance but was pronounced dead soon after arrival.

Mr Tansey worked for The Irish Timesin the 1970s, was deputy editor of the Sunday Tribunein the 1980s, when Vincent Browne was editor, and returned to work as economics editor of The Irish Timeslast year.

Mr Tansey wrote about the public finances and the economy. He also made audio reports which were hosted on The Irish Timeswebsite,

He recently interviewed Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, and Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, America's central bank.

Prior to returning to journalism last year, Mr Tansey had spent 20 years undertaking consultancy assignments at home and abroad for both the private and public sectors.

During this period, the reports he wrote were regularly the subject of media coverage and debate. Mr Tansey was an independent member of the National Economic and Social Forum, and a member of the Tourism Strategy Implementation Group.

He acted as the Labour Market Expert (Ireland) for the European Commission's Employment Directorate. A regular horse rider, he was a director of Tote Ireland.

Originally from Shankill, Co Dublin, Mr Tansey attended Blackrock College, Dublin before going on to study economics at Trinity College Dublin. He also completed an MBA at Trinity.

While at university he became involved in student politics and was a vice-president of the Union of Students in Ireland.

After leaving the Sunday Tribune, Mr Tansey set up the economics and financial consultancy group, Tansey Webster Stewart Company.

His partners were accountant Peter Stewart and business consultant Stuart Webster.

He had a particular interest in the labour market and, in conjunction with Microsoft, published a major study on productivity trends in Ireland in 2005.

The report highlighted the key role that driving increased productivity gains would have on helping to ensure that Ireland maintained its competitiveness.

The report stated that technology innovation would, as one of a number of components, help to drive increased productivity gains.

He was the author of two books - Making the Irish Labour Market Work(1991) and Ireland At Work(1998).

Joan Burton, deputy leader of the Labour Party, last night said she was shocked to hear of Mr Tansey's death. "I believe he was the first among equals in the ranks of economic commentators. He had immense knowledge and experience of economic trends both from his work as a journalist and as an economic consultant.

"He examined and described what was happening each day and week but always put those events in context. I never missed his columns which were always food for thought even when I did not share his analysis," Ms Burton said.