The Business

    Saturday 10 - 11am


    Saturday 28th February

    The Threat of a 'Brexit'

    This week the British-Irish Chamber of Commerce held a conference in Dublin entitled “Shoulder to Shoulder: Winning Strategies for the Global Pitch', which was attended by a large number of figures from the international business and political community. One of the main points of discussion was the possibility of a British exit from the European Union. John McGraine, President of the Chamber, and Stephen Booth, Research Director of the Open Europe Think Tank in London, analysed the potential impact on Ireland.

    Around the World

    In the first installment of what will be a new monthly feature on The Business, brought to us by the Institute of Directors, Siobhan O’Connell from Business Plus Magazine joined Richard in studio to take a look at some of the international business stories which have been in the news this week.

    Goldsmiths and Jewellery Makers

    In the last 10 years there has been a resurgence in jewellery making in Ireland. In what was previously a male dominated profession, women are really beginning to show their mettle. Liam Geraghty has been talking to some of the designers who are going for gold ...

    Niall Fitzgerald

    Niall Fitzgerald, born in Sligo and raised in Limerick, has had a varied and colourful career in global business. During his 37 years with one of the world’s biggest companies, Unilever, he became their youngest ever Chairman and Chief Executive. He has also chaired and been on the board of too many organisations to mention, including the World Economic Forum, the British Museum, and Nelson Mandela's Legacy Trust.

    Saturday 21st February

    How The Other Half Fly

    The Residence by Etihad is a new service on offer from the airline on their flight from London to Abu Dhabi. It features a three-room cabin and a butler at your service for the duration of the eight-and-a-half hour flight. It also costs almost 12,500 pounds sterling each way. The butlers for this unique extravagance have been trained by Limerick man Seán Davoren, of the Savoy Hotel in London.

    Bringing Big-Budget Film-Making to Ireland

    John Gleeson - Partner and Head of Media at Grant Thornton - has been instrumental in raising more than €400 million euro in finance for 175 different film, television and animation projects in Ireland over the last 10 years. While we have had much success attracting international television productions to these shores, large-scale filmmaking hasn't been happening at the same rate. He believes that's all about to change...


    Robert McKee has been described by Peter Jackson as “The Guru of Gurus”. He’s a Fulbright scholar, and is regarded as the most sought after screenwriting lecturer in the world. In recent years, he has also turned his attention to business, and has developed the Storynomics seminar for business leaders, which is coming to Killarney in May.

    Casting Movies

    It's Oscars night tomorrow, so no doubt those most coveted of little gold statuettes are getting their last minute polish, the red carpet is being given a good old hoover, and Hollywood A-listers are optimistically preparing acceptance speeches. Closer to home, another Academy had its debut this week when the Bow Street Academy for Screen Acting opened its doors in Dublin. Liam Geraghty went along to find out about the business of creating the careers of some superstars of the future…

    Jim McCarthy of Poundland and Dealz

    Thrifty shopping has become a multi-million euro business, with a number of recession-friendly retailers opening up right across Ireland in recent years. One British chain which has carved out a substantial niche in this market is Poundland which trades under the name of ‘Dealz’ in 40 stores around the country. As his name suggests, CEO Jim McCarthy has Irish roots…

    James Galbraith on Yanis Varoufakis

    James K. Galbraith is an economist and a professor of government in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where Yanis Varoufakis - the embattled, leather-jacket-wearing Finance Minister of Greece's new left-wing government - has been a visiting professor for the last three years. The two men are close friends. Galbraith co-wrote the most recent edition of Varoufakis's 'Modest Proposal for Recovery in the Eurozone', and recently the newly-minted minister in Athens as he was coming to grips with his new post.

    Greek Bailout Extension

    After a week of high-level brinkmanship, European finance ministers last night agreed an 11th hour extension of Greece's Troika bailout. The move gives the new Greek government some breathing space, but does it really provide a solution to their problems? Antoin Murphy is Emeritus Professor of Economics at TCD, and he joined Jonathan in studio to discuss.

    Saturday 14th February

    The Wedding Band Business

    Never let it be said that we don’t do romance on The Business… After a few Valentine's Days and more than a few flowers and chocolates, the natural progression for many Irish couples is the 'Big Day Out'. What’s it like to be working on the frontline? Jonathan Casey performs in one of the country's leading wedding bands, “The Best Men”, and the business side of things is run by his wife, Niamh Brennan, who is CEO of the Music Angel booking agency.

    Making Millions in Merch

    Screens up and down the country are reportedly booked out for the first showing of '50 Shades of Grey', but although the box office will make plenty of money for the producers, much of the real moolah these days is made through merchandising. Timmy McGann from marketing company The Hub at Trade Wins discusses the phenomenon of licensing...

    Tanya and Phillip Airey of Sunway Tours

    When online booking facilities first became available to anyone with an internet connection it was generally felt that the role of the traditional tour operator would become obsolete, and that nobody would ever want to buy a package holiday again. While a number of big players in the market did fold up their tents in the time since, last year Sunway Travel turned over 40 million euro and the 50-year-old Irish company continues to employ a staff of 80. Managing Director Tanya Airey and her husband Phillip joined Richard in studio.

    The Business of Blooms

    4 out of 5 women say that Irish men are less romantic than their international counterparts, but despite that less-than-enthusiastic rating you can be sure that cash registers across the country have been ringing all week, and will continue to do so today as lovers shell out for Valentine's Day cards and gifts for. Liam Geraghty has been finding out just how many people still choose to say it with flowers.

    Supermacs' Pat McDonagh

    Pat McDonagh was in the news this week in a classic David versus Goliath story, after McDonalds filed a 41-page objection against Supermacs' application to register its trademark across the European Union. So is the plan to open Supermac's right across Europe and in America?

    Saturday 7th February

    Premiership-Style Management

    With the transfer window in the Premier League ending this week, the soccer world has been a hive of activity recently, but can these transfer deals be applied to the world of economics? Prof. Damian Hughes is the author of ‘How to think like Sir Alex Ferguson: The Business of Winning and Managing Success’ .

    Business Bust-Ups

    The much-publicised Rory McIlroy versus Horizon Sports Management court case this week was an example of what can happen when business relationships turn sour. Although in this instance both parties issued a statement saying that they wished each other well - after a reported pay-out in the region of €22 million - on other occasions partings have been a lot less amicable. Siobhán O’Connell from Business Plus magazine joined Richard in studio to talk about some of the more ennervating and heartbreaking examples.

    Irish Pubs Raising the Bar

    With the arrival of the UK pub chain Wetherspoons on these shores, a new era may have dawned for the Irish local. Is it a case of shape up or ship out for our native bars? Liam Geraghty spoke to some publicans who aren’t about to call time on the trade, and are coming up with some innovative ways of attracting customers.

    Croke Park's Peter McKenna

    Last year was quite a rollercoaster for Croke Park's stadium director, Peter McKenna, with the ‘Garth-Gate’ saga raging on for what seemed like an eternity... Despite this blip, the venue turned over an operating profit of 11.2 million euro last year. In fact, the fortunes of Croke Park have been on the up for some time. 2012 was a watershed year, as it was the first time it was debt free in its entire existence, and McKenna was instrumental in that turnaround...

    The View from Greece

    He’s only two weeks in the job, but Greek’s Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has had something of a baptism of fire. The ECB’s decision this week to remove the concessions it had made.on lending to the Greek banks during the bail out has plunged the country into yet more financial uncertainty. What does all of this mean for the Greek people? Treasurer of the Irish Hellenic Society, Michael Youlton - who has just returned from a trip to his homeland - joined Richard to discuss the mood on the ground there.

    Saturday 31st January

    Superbowl Super Ads

    The Superbowl commercial breaks are considered the holy Grail of advertising, with many firms spending millions on just one 30 second slot. With an average viewership of 111 million, some might say they are worth the spend... Nowadays many ads are going viral before the show, and advertisers have had to think more creatively about the spots, working alongside such giants as Facebook and Twitter to show specific ads to a particular audience. Peter O’Dwyer, Creative Director at Havas Worldwide and Kathleen Healy, Digital Strategist with Rothco, sift through the glorious touchdowns and disastrous fumbles...

    Street Artists Going Mainstream

    Grafitti was once considered the past-time of disaffected youth, but now it has become a mainstream and very lucrative art-form, with big hitters making a nice living from their work. Next month, Whytes are holding an auction of work including street art pieces from Banksy and - for the first time - the Irish street artist, Will St Leger. Liam Geraghty went along to find out more about how street art is coming off the street and into the auction room…

    Discrimination in Job Interviews

    Earlier this week The Equality Tribunal awarded €54,000 to a school teacher who was asked for her views on homosexuality during an interview for a job as a school principal. What are the questions which prospective employers simply can’t ask in an interview? Louise Campbell, Managing Director of Robert Walters Recruitment joined Richard in studio.

    Buses & Transport

    The state may be seeking assurances on airline routes to Heathrow, but when it comes to bus routes private companies moving in is on the cards. The National Transport Authority announced yesterday that a number of bus routes in the Dublin area are going up for tender. Is nothing sacred? Senator Sean Barrett, Senior Lecturer from the Department of Economics in TCD discussed the implications with Richard.

    MIchael Lynch

    Michael Lynch was born to Irish parents living in Britain, studied and attained a PhD in the field of mathematics and engineering in Cambridge, and set up the tech company Autonomy which he sold to Hewlett Packard for 11.1 billion euro in 2011. He was susbsequently in the news when just a year later HP wrote down the value of the business by over $8bn, accusing Autonomy of accounting improprieties and misrepresentation prior to the takeover. Two weeks ago, however, the Serious Fraud Office in the UK announced that their investigation hadn’t found anything. An investigation in the US is still ongoing. He has recently raised a billion dollars and founded his own investment venture, Invoke Capital.

    Saturday 24th January

    The Pale

    90’s R'n'B group TLC announced on Tuesday that they're financing their final album by crowd funding through Kickstarter. Within days they reached more than their target, in part due to donations from fellow musicians such as Katy Perry. Over the last couple of years, Irish bands have gotten in on the crowdfunding act with musicians such as The Walls and Julie Feeney successfully crowd funding their musical ventures. Among those who have tried it out are Dublin band, The Pale. Lead singer Matt Devereux and manager Declan O'Donoghue told Richard about their business plan...

    Turnaround Specialists and Vulture Capitalism

    Just six years after Waterford Wedgwood was bought out of receivership, its US private equity owners have put it up for sale for more than 650 million euro which would net them a profit of around 400 million. Not a bad return at all. To talk about the whole concept of vulture capitalism and its impact on these shores, Nick Webb, Sunday Independent Business Editor, joined Richard in studio.

    Jobs with Free Gaffs

    have you ever wondered what it was like to work where you live? Or what it’s like to get a house as part and parcel of your job? In the past this was a common occurrence with employers like the Guinness family, Cadburys and the Lever Brothers. But does it ever happen now? Liam Geraghty has been checking it out...

    Patrick Coveney

    Patrick Coveney, has been at the helm of Greencore since 2008. The convenience foods giant employs in the region of 12,000 people and has 22 manufacturing locations in the UK and the US. Recently the company was at the centre of a major row in Britain over staff and conditions - Greencore had employed low cost workers from Hungary at its plant in Northampton - prompting David Cameron to weigh into the row and the Daily Mail to run the headline - 'Is there no one left in Britain who can make a sandwich?'

    Inequality and the 'Squeezed Middle'

    This week the rich and powerful were all at the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, the official theme being the 'new global context'. Earlier in the week Oxfam had warned that by 2016 1% of the world's population will own more than the other 99%, and Barack Obama and David Cameron have both pledged an easing of pressure on the squeezed middle classes. Steve Keen, Head of the School of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University in London, and Eamon Delaney, commentator and former diplomat, joined Richard to discuss the big picture issues of wealth and income inequality.

    Saturday 17th January

    Working in the Elements

    As clearing up continues after Storm Rachel wreaked havoc across the country, Liam Geraghty went out to meet the people that brave the elements everyday - hail, rain or snow...

    Workplace Experiments

    This week the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced that they were doing their own work experiment -a staff exchange programme with the Irish aviation leasing company Avolon, aimed at improving the skill set of both the public and private sector companies. Do such experiments work and what are their true value? Moira Creedon from the Irish Management Institute weighed up the pros and cons.

    Quantitative Easing

    The term Quantitative Easing was bandied about in the news quite a bit this week. But what does it actually mean? And why is it making the headlines here and further afield? Joining Richard to help put us all at ease about quantitative easing was Brendan Keenan of the Irish Independent.

    Annie Atkins

    Watching Wes Anderson’s nine times Oscar-nominated 'The Grand Budapest Hotel', it’s hard to miss the detailed and visually-striking props and sets. Irish-based, Annie Atkins, was the lead graphic designer on the project, and the innovative talent behind the most eye-catching props on screen.

    Preparing for Business Failure

    Last week, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny told the Pendulum Summit that he felt Ireland was not preparing its young to deal with failure. He described ‘difficulty and failure’ as ‘inevitable companions’. His remarks prompted one woman contact the show... Dr. Orla Byrne specialises in Entrepreneurship in the University of Bath.

    Repossessions on the Rise

    Given what the country has been through, there have been relatively few repossessions to date. Is that about to change? This week FLAC, the free legal advice people, said that recommendations by an expert group will make it easier for house repossessions to take place, but will the banks go down this route? Joining Richard to discuss were Conall Mac Coille, Chief Economist at Davy Stockbrokers, and Ross Maguire of New Beginnings.

    Saturday 10th January

    Morning Gloryville

    The dark days of January are brightening for some hardy workers who are trying to get a spring in their step on these winter mornings... If you feel like shaking off the cobwebs and raving your way into the day, you could go along to Morning Gloryville, like our reporter Liam Geraghty did.

    Telling Lies at Work

    Have you ever told a porker at work? It seems lots of us tell lies quite routinely. People who lie are said to be highly emotionally intelligent; they’re also brainy and have strong social skills. So what do we lie about? Who do we tell lies to? Why do we do it and, more importantly, is lying always wrong? Richard was joined by Social psychologist, Karen Hand to steer us through him lying jungle.

    Felix Abt

    North Korea has been in the news recently, following allegations that the country was involved in hacking into files belonging to Sony Pictures Entertainment. What is life really like in the closed kingdom of Kim Jong-un? We caught up with Felix Abt, who spent several years living and working in that country as a businessman, and has just published a book called 'A Capitalist In North Korea: My 7 Years Living In The Hermit Kingdom' .

    David Drumm

    This week a Massachusetts Judge Frank Bailey delivered a damning ruling relating to the former Anglo Irish Bank Chief David Drumm. The judge found that he was 'not remotely credible', his conduct was 'fraudulent', and his court statements replete with 'outright lies'. He isn't the only person involved in the banking crash who is being sued for money. To look at some of the other names in the mix we were joined by Editor of the Sunday Business Post, Ian Kehoe, and Forensic Accountant with Grant Sugrue, Liam Grant.

    Emmett O'Connell

    Emmet O'Connell is son of Irish emigrants - his father from Sligo, his mother from Cork - and was raised in New York. He was responsible for several stock market launches with oil, gas and minerals companies, including Eglinton Oil and Gas. He was also involved in a shipping business and a Russian Telecoms venture. Most recently he's been involved in the Great Western Mining Corporation. In the past, he has been referred to as 'Ireland's answer to JR Ewing'....

    Saturday 20th December

    The Business Entertainment Special Part 2

    For Part 2 of our Entertainment Special, Andy and Donal played us in with the autobiographical classic 'O'Donoghue's'. The panel was then joined by internationally successful Irish songwriters Ruth-Anne Cunningham and Craig Walker to talk about their business models. Liam Geraghty reported on the blood, sweat and tear of professional ballet dancers, all capped off with a genuinely impromptu version of 'The Christmas Song', beautifully sung by Ruth-Anne, with backing from Donal Lunny, Johnny Taylor and Barry Donohoe. Merry Christmas!

    The Business Entertainment Special Part 1

    To usher Christmas in with a touch of magic, Richard was joined in studio by celebrated film director Jim Sheridan, and traditional music legends Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny, to discuss spending a lifetime in entertainment. For a breath of brisk winter air, Julien Clancy took to the streets to explore the business of busking.

    Saturday 13th December

    The Fine Art of Haggling

    Keeping with the theme of retail, Richard was joined by a man who reveals all about the art of getting a bargain. Colm Carey is a consumer psychologist, director of market research firm The Research Institute, and a champion haggler...

    Sorting the Christmas Post

    We have already heard about the trials and tribulations of shop staff, but there are plenty of other workers for whom Christmas is the busiest time of the year. Earlier this week we took a trip to An Post's Mail Centre in Dublin, where we met the staff who are handling our mountains of seasonal mail.

    The Future of Shopping

    There has been a big pickup in the amount of internet shopping we're doing in recent years, but if this trend continues what impact will it have on our local stores? To discuss whether drones will replace delivery men or whether robots will replace retailers, Sonya Lennon founder of Frockadvisor and Patrick Leddy, founder of Pulsate, joined Richard in studio.

    Retailers and Suppliers

    If our retail assistants are having a tough time, what about the suppliers who are doing their best to get their stock on the shelves? In recent years there have been brussel sprout wars, meat industry disputes, and a stream of stories about the big multiples shafting their suppliers. What's the day-to-day reality like on the ground? Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland, and agri-food economist Ciaran Fitzgerald discuss.

    Shop Assistants on the Christmas Frontline

    We're in the middle of the busiest month for retailers. Around the country people are ordering their turkeys, stocking up on presents, and pushing their way through crowds. In the midst of all of that, are the shop assistants. Liam Geraghty has been finding out about the hazards and hassles that they have to suffer on the front line of the battle that is Christmas shopping.

    The Happy Pear Twins

    David and Stephen Flynn from The Happy Pear started out their business ten years ago with a grocer's shop in Greystones. The venture has grown, first with a café and health food shop, then a second one, and then a sprout and wheatgrass farm. They're also partners in a plum and cherry farm. With around 50 employees, they will deliver a multi-million euro turnover this year.

    Saturday 6th December

    Chocolate Crisis

    There have been some suggestions lately that there could be a bitter future in store for chocolate lovers. Two of the big chocolate brands warned that consumer demand for the sweet treat will exceed cocoa supply by 2020. But is this really the case? Caroline Hennessy, Bibliocook food blogger, gives us the inside scoop.

    Rugby World Cup 2023

    It’s official, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are making a joint bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and the Taoiseach tells us he is bullish about our chances. “We’re not just applying,” he says, “We’re applying to win”. Before we scrum down, is it worth asking if all the money that goes into such a venture is well spent, or are we just getting caught up in the excitement of the game? John Considine from UCC's Department of Economics, an All-Star Hurler himself, has mixed feelings.

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