When did you join the Department of Economics/KBS/UL?

On the 29th of August 2022

What are some of your major professional accomplishments?

I was awarded a Clarendon scholarship at Oxford, which are given to the top 2% of its postgraduate students.  I graduated with a DPhil in 2017.  My first book was published with Palgrave MacMillan in 2018, entitled ‘Policy Failures and the Irish Economic Crisis’.  It is one of the bestselling titles for the publisher in its category.  In 2019, I was awarded the Department of Finance History Fellowship and commissioned to write the Department’s history from 1959 to 1999.  The book is being published on the 7th October by the Institute of Public Administration.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a Lecturer/Researcher?

The biggest challenge in terms of research was the sheer size of the Department of Finance archive.  There are over one hundred thousand files from my period, each an average of several hundred pages. 

What are you currently researching/ teaching?

I am teaching International Political Economy and Macroeconomics this term, which are both subjects I’m really interested in.  The Department of Finance book is literally just being published so I’m trying to decide between a couple of new research projects.

Why did you choose a career in Economics? What does Economics mean to you?

I previously worked in international development and have always been fascinated by how countries become wealthy.  During the Great Recession, I became interested in why most observers of the Irish economy failed to anticipate the crisis.  My major interest in the Irish economy now is how it transitioned from living standards that were just over half those of neighbouring countries to parity within thirty years.

How do you think young economists can best develop their knowledge and skills?

As an Economic Historian, I’m obviously an advocate for looking at real world examples and doing very concrete research to establish what actually happened, rather than just what people think or say happened.

When you are not teaching & researching, what do you do?

I have a cockapoo who takes a lot of walking, which tends to come first.  I play folk and blues guitar but am finding less time to do it than I used to.  My hobbies are increasingly just jobs in disguise!

Who are some Economists that you’d like to acknowledge as having a positive impact on you? 

Cormac ó Gráda and Kevin O’Rourke have both written remarkable studies of the Irish economy.  Internationally I absolutely love Robert Frank’s books, which really expand the horizons of economics.  ‘Passions within Reason’ is out of print, but an incredible read.

Where is your favourite place on the UL campus?

I’ve only just started but the first morning coming in was sunny and the tree-lined driveway was a stunning welcome.

If you didn’t live in/near Limerick, where would you live & why?

Part of me is always drawn to the Greek islands - either Crete or Naxos.  The sun, food, and sea make them paradise.