The reluctant Taoiseach

Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of a remarkable man, the third head of an independent Irish government, John A Costello. If you don’t know much about him, you’re not alone. He has been sadly overlooked, despite being Taoiseach twice, and serving longer in that office than any subsequent Fine Gaeler – although his record will be broken if Enda Kenny is still Taoiseach on 19 April next year. I have an interest to declare: I wrote a …

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 …

Last Days of the Flats – A 360º short documentary

How to best view the footage? You can view 360/VR footage on any desktop or smartphone. Here’s a few tips on getting the best experience on whichever device you’re using. Desktop If you’re watching via YouTube on a desktop or laptop, make sure you have the quality settings turned up by clicking the little ‘cog’ in the bottom right corner and opening ‘Quality’. Most broadband connections can handle the 1440s quality. Some can handle 2160s, which is almost cinema quality. …

(Dad) Dancing in the Dark

Since the weekend Springsteen concerts, there’s been a lot of criticism of the attendance of a somewhat divisive figure, turning up like an embarrassing uncle and sucking all the good out of the event for everyone else. If he likes it, how can I like it, many fans thought. But enough about Bono. Bruce invited him on stage, and that’s good enough for me. There was also some comment about the Taoiseach, whose enthusiastic dancing and air guitar skills were …

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 …

A Journey to the Heart of Brexit Britain

The tour groups shuffle respectfully past the stone tomb. A dappled pink light shines in from two brand new stained glass windows. The final resting place of Richard the Third in Leicester’s cathedral has become an unlikely tourist attraction. His remains, uncovered under a city car park, were reburied here with much pomp and ceremony last year. Now the stage villain king, killed at the Battle of Bosworth close to Leicester, has also been credited with the good luck enjoyed …

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 …

The European Commission recommends…

We are now halfway through the budget-making process for 2017, the point at which the European Commission sends out Country-specific Recommendations to member states – key issues to be dealt with in the national budget plans that are to be published in mid October. They boil down to calls to broaden the tax base, prioritise capital spending on transport, water services and housing, tweak social welfare policy to concentrate on the high number of “low work intensity households” in Ireland, …