Counting the cost of Brexit for science

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent “It’s a disaster”. That was Nobel Prize winning physicist Peter Higgs’ response when I asked him for his reaction to the result of the Brexit referendum, just hours after it was delivered last Friday. And he wasn’t alone in his views. Indeed a few weeks earlier, Professor Higgs had been among 13 Nobel Prize winning scientists who had warned losing EU funding of science would put British research “in jeopardy”. “Inside the EU, …

Five issues to watch after the Brexit bombshell

The Single Market Perhaps the biggest issue facing Ireland and the UK following the Brexit vote is the ability of Britain to retain access to the Single Market. This allows for the free movement of goods without the imposition of tariffs. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Britain cannot cherry pick the benefits of the EU without making its own contribution. “Those, for example, who want free access to the Single Market,” said Ms Merkel, “will in return have …

Britain votes to leave EU: What does it mean for Ireland?

Politically, socially and economically the decision of the UK to leave the European Union will have huge ramifications for Ireland, writes RTÉ Business Editor David Murphy. But the most immediate impact will be felt by Irish businesses and their employees. Sterling Sterling is falling rapidly against the euro and fell 8% in the hours after the result became clear. It is safe to assume sterling will remain very weak for a considerable period. That will make Irish exports to the …

Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn – an inspired play or big gamble?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent As takeovers go, Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn is pretty massive. In fact, it is Microsoft’s largest ever acquisition – and over the years it has bought quite a few other companies. The deal will see the software firm pay $196 per share for the professional social network. That’s a tasty 49.5 per cent premium on LinkedIn’s closing share price last Friday. Its shareholders must be rubbing their hands in glee. Last year LinkedIn’s …

Yanis Varoufakis comes to town. But did he help Greece?

Every year I make a point of attending the Dalkey Book Festival in Co Dublin, writes RTÉ’s Business Editor David Murphy. Run by economist David McWilliams and his highly-motivated wife Sian Smyth, the event has broadened from its literary origins to include a range of interesting speakers from the world of politics and economics. This year, one of the big name guests is the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis next Thursday. He is engaging, smart and controversial. This time …

Mario Draghi is a socialist (sort of)

OK, as an effort at click-bait this headline may not the most convincing, but now that I’ve got your attention, let me update you on this week’s Brussels Economic Forum (which definitely ain’t a click-bait term!), where investment was a recurring theme. The boss of the European Central Bank was able to step away from the usual lines about cross checks and five-year inflation expectations to look at some of the wider issues confronting the European Economy. In particular things …

Yahoo – it’s Fiscal Space time again!

So the economy is growing like topsy, the taxes are rolling in, the deficit and the government debt are falling rapidly, as is unemployment.  What could possibly go wrong? Well plenty, says the Fiscal Council – from Brexit, to a changed corporate tax regime in America, to simple lower growth, all of which could severely knock  what is still a rather delicate set of government accounts.  (They are too polite to mention the ever present risk of dumb-ass politicians making …

Growing anger in the Irish science and research community

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent In the early 1990s, Irish scientists were angry. Cutbacks in already reduced funding for research, inadequate grants for post-grads and a lack of resources for equipment led to a ground swell of resentment among the science community here. The Irish Research Scientists Association was formed and a lobbying campaign began. And when its voice eventually became loud enough, the government of the time started to take the concerns seriously. Almost of quarter of …

Brexit could send Ireland back in time

Overlooking the River Liffey on Dublin’s docks is the neo-classical Customs House. The stunning building took ten years to construct and was completed in 1791 at a cost of £200,000, which was a fortune at the time. One of its purposes was to collect tariffs on goods coming into Dublin Port. At the time tariffs were seen as a positive mechanism for any country because they protected a nation’s domestic industry from foreign competitors. Since then economic thinking has been …

Why the resistance to tackling antibiotic resistance?

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent There are certain issues which people know are serious, but for whatever reason choose to bury their heads in the sand about. Climate change is one obvious one. Despite decades of warnings that our manmade carbon emissions are effectively overheating our planet, only in the last two or so years has the global community woken up to the reality of the danger and started to take action – possibly too late. Antimicrobial drug …