Update on Site Activity

As of today, this site has received 500,000 visits since it began in December 2008, an average of 3,095 per day.  These visits have involved 1.39 million page views.  In terms of geography, 68 percent are resident in Ireland and 32 percent view the site from the rest of the world.

53 replies on “Update on Site Activity”

Well done Philip for this initiative. And well done all of you and us for creating and sustaining something that is at least interesting, and sometimes useful!

Just out of interest, does Northern Ireland count as ‘Ireland’ or ‘the rest of the world’? What percentage are from Northern Ireland?

The site is a rare positive development in our public sphere, whose weaknesses are becoming all too apparent. Hopefully the site never becomes like our media, whose self-congratualation is oft in evidence but whose critical scrutiny, on Nama at any rate, is with some sterling exceptions almost completely lacking. In the future we will rely more and more on people like yourselves to do the job that journalists once observed they did: To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Thank you for all your work.

Keep it up Karl. Great to be able to find a source of information which hasn’t been taken over by the vested interests in this country.


“Great to be able to find a source of information which hasn’t been taken over by the vested interests in this country.”

Yes indeed, truly shocking the way RTE, Newstalk and the newspapers never allow David McWilliams, Morgan Kelly, Vincent Browne, Fintan O’Toole, Gene Kerrigan et al to voice their opinions. Perhaps they could be offered the use of this site.


“Yes indeed, truly shocking the way RTE, Newstalk and the newspapers never allow David McWilliams, Morgan Kelly, Vincent Browne, Fintan O’Toole, Gene Kerrigan et al to voice their opinions. Perhaps they could be offered the use of this site”.

They allow them on John. They just don’t act on what they say or follow up with analysis and investigation. Most of our media are recorders, not investigators or analysts. No matter how bad Nama is revealed to be, the official lines of the papers and RTE, and most of their journalists, commentators and interviewers, offer uncritical support. It’s like living in a variant of the Soviet Union: the dissidents are allowed coverage, but they are interviewed by Pravda, who make sure to keep backing the party line.
And the ruling elite do what they have decided anyway.

I’ve only discovered this site in the last few months and as a layman I find the linking/articles brilliant. Its a great site to learn things from and to also get both sides of the argument. Thanks and well done.


Don’t you think you are exaggerating a trifle, well actually, a lot?

This site (IrishEconomy.ie) is an excellent site that allows vigorous debate among posters of differing points of view. You yourself are among the best posters, although I disagree with most of what you say.

Most of those posting on this thread have recognised that and have been content to offer congratulations to the organisers of the site. However, as was entirely predictable, along comes a crank in the form of ‘PR’ who thinks he’s living in Prague in Spring 1968 and that this site is the only means of communicating information to the outside world. None of the organisers of the site have ever claimed anything as ridiculous as that.

As, according to the statistics Philip Lane has given, 32 per cent of people reading this thread are from outside Ireland, I think it is important to refute PR’s absurd insinuation that this site is somehow unique in being a source of information which hasn’t been taken over by the vested interests in this country. That was why I posted to refute PR’s claim. There would be no need to refute it if the site was viewed by people in Ireland only. We all know how ridiculous it is. But, we don’t want people living in countries outside Ireland to think that dissent is in any way stifled here. Just very briefly on the media people I mentioned, all of whom are fanatical opponents of both NAMA and the Government:

David McWilliams: weekly column in Irish Independent, weekly column in Sunday Business Post, regular tv series that involve more frequent filming in exotic locations than George Clooney manages

Morgan Kelly: regular articles in Irish Times, regular appearances on tv and radio

Vincent Browne: weekly column in Irish Times, weekly column in Sunday Business Post, hosts nightly program on television

Fintan O’Toole: weekly column in Irish Times, regular appearances on tv and radio

Gene Kerrigan: weekly column in Sunday Independent, regular appearances on tv and radio

I could mention many others. Karl Whelan and Brian Lucey themselves are frequently on tv and radio and write frequent artices in the Irish Times and Irish Independent. The idea that those opposed to NAMA or the Government don’t get a fair crack of the whip in the media and have to resort to this site to get their views across is absurd. The fact that the Government chooses to ignore them is entirely irrelevant. There will be an election by May 2012 at the latest at which the people will have their say as to whether they want to follow a different path to NAMA.

No, this is not the Soviet Union. But our tottering economy and the looming Nama disaster are making us resemble a quieter version of the Weimar republic. 46 academic economists condemning an Irish government policy is unprecedented. They make obvious and irrefutable criticisms. But the government is clearly not listening. And although the media interview them, many of them don’t seem to actually LISTEN to them. In a mature democracy I would have hoped for much more. From the media and from the government. By 2012 Nama will be a done deal.
It will be like the Iraq war. Obama opposed it. He promised to remove the troops before his election. He won the election. But it will be a long time – if ever – before the US is disengaged. And how long after that will anyone be able to say that the Iraq war has made a profit in any sense.

Nama looks to me like a desperate gamble by politicians/senior civil servants/bankers/developers, with public money.
I’d rather not take this huge risk.


While it was NAMA that brought me here you are now on my favoritse list.

Maybe that’s not a good thing.


Yes – well done from someone who helped establish http://www.indymedia.ie back in 2001. This is the first group of the Irish academics to have a serious presence online and talk back to power in a space open to all. The public sphere is dead. All power to the public screen!


You seem incapable of forgetting about NAMA in any post you make. Can you not find it possible to show some grace. The title of this piece is about site activity and it amazes me that you cannot just keep to the topic.

To Philip and others involved I commend you for your efforts with this site. It is indeed a pleasure to see iconic Irish Economists posting here and hopefully over time we will see a consensus on how to move forward our economy and country to make it a better place for our children.

Yes, huzzah to the site founders and contributors. Despite having some, eh, run ins with a few of them, i honestly do appreciate the time, effort and honesty they all put in to their contributions, and i think the debate about the issues prevailing in our economy at the moment would be a lot less understood and to the fore were it not for the discussions on here. If only the Dáil could be as good natured and witty in its business, well the world would be a far better place.

“You seem incapable of forgetting about NAMA in any post you make”.
You are quite right. But I don’t think anyone would contend that it is not the biggest economic issue in the country for the next ten days while the Nama bill goes through. There are lots of political issues, but no one would dispute that the Lisbon referendum was the biggest for the ten days before it was voted on. And I would appreciate this blog even if I could keep off Nama, which I can’t.


The volume of traffic is likely to decline once the nama debate passes its peak, but that won’t reflect in any way on the success or value of this site. Its real value is that it’s not just an opinion forum, and a cut above most other blog sites in that respect; it’s an invaluable information source. The links provided in posts by you and other experts on the site to papers and articles, that non-economists like me might not otherwise ever achieve access to, perform a vital public education function. Pity that the visitor stats can’t measure the impact of this site on the quality of public debate, but it’s obvious that its influence is significant. Look forward to making many visits to the site in the future and thanks to you for setting it up and thereby opening up my own mind, and many other minds too, to new ideas and fresh perspectives on the issues that we face as a society.

@ Paul MacD

“On the other hand this is a societal failure in Ireland”

I agree. You get the media and the debate you want or ask for. Blaming the media for not being adversarial is actually the viewers/readers fault. There’s always other options out there if you dislike what the mainstream media has in it. If enough people vote with their wallet/viewing, than the mainstream is forced to change with it or go bust.

Personally i think the social partnership process works well and is very valuable at times of stability, but every so often it needs to have a complete, and maybe even unsettling, shakeup to retune it to the changing circumstances. I hope thats what we are seeing at the moment with the govt’s attempts to reign in the deficit.

The examples of Cuba and Jews on their way to the concentration camps are possibly a bit OTT!!

I find this blog and the articles linked to by the official contributors very educational.

The key to the success of this site is that only registered academic contributors can initiate posts. One can get straight to their contribution and avoid all other comments (such as this one) if one wishes.

It would be great to see academics in other disciplines doing something similar.

@ Paul MacDonnell

“I’m not making a moral or sensational comparison but merely a psychological one but in terms of the behaviour of crowds or whole groups when confronted with oppression or exploitation, the Irish are a little like all those Jews who went without a murmur onto trains bound for concentration camps. It’s an interesting study in psychology.”

I don’t know about anyone lese who reads this site, but I’m shocked, deeply shocked, and distressed by this statement. It is devoid of any credibility in terms of the history of the mid-twentieth century or any other century, come to that. And apart from being completely wrong as a reading of those tragic events, the analogy is repulsive.

@ Philip

Yes – Well Done! This is a good blog – and a very useful additon to the weak Irish public sphere – and I thoroughly enjoy the critical repartee (at times) and the often very useful links.

Perhaps, a little more heterodoxy as capital once again trumps labour and the fact that financial capital globally is already well on the way to getting out of control once again …………..

@Paul Mac, can I suggest that you drop it? Whether or not you have a point, making a comparison to the Shoah or its perpetrators in a discussion like this is more likely to cause grave offence than to illuminate your argument effectively.


Surely you know by now that Paul MacDonnell is always right, has divine access to the TRUTH, is second only to Janis in the number of citations on ‘group think’ in the blogoslit, and (rumour has it) in an amazing act of courage single-handedly (Paul doesn’t like crowds since he read a little of that Chicago stuff on the Cartesian individual) took on and defeated the entire Limerick Soviet in 1919.

Once deleted – twice shy!

“@Paul Mac, can I suggest that you drop it? Whether or not you have a point, making a comparison to the Shoah or its perpetrators in a discussion like this is more likely to cause grave offence than to illuminate your argument effectively.”

+ 1 e10


You know a bit yourself – and ‘registered academics’ (whether you are one or not) do not have a monopoly on facts, norms, evidence etc ….. and economists more than most … are you not due a ‘guest post’ at some stage? (-;


Thanks, but I am nowhere near guest post standard and I intend maintaining my cunning disguise which has to rule out any posts by me if the site is to maintain credibility. It is precisely because people like me cannot initiate discussions that this site maintains its value. I will stick to “classic long posts” and hurling from the ditch 🙂 .

@Paul McDonnell

Your comparison is valid as an example of people showing little resistance.
However, the fate of those involved was so terrible that I don’t think it serves any purpose repeating it. Nama will cause huge economic costs.
This is bad, but in historical terms very low on the scale of misfortune.
There is simply no comparison to those who were destroyed by the Holocaust.


“It would be great to see academics in other disciplines doing something similar.”

As regard other disciplines, we need to hear much more from the physical science community regarding energy and related issues. Public discussion has been hijacked by lobby groups.

Isn’t it a pity that this site did not appear a few years earlier than it did?

Let’s hope we don’t have wait for the consequences of disastrous policy errors to emerge before physical scientists get their act together.

@ David O’Donnell,

Must confess I am not aware of Paul MacDonnell’s omniscience, (probably because I don’t really read most of the comments about nama on this site anymore because many of them simply wouldn’t add much to my understanding of the issues).

What I do know about though is history, particularly mid and late twentieth century history. And about the breakdown of politics and the fragility of the threads of civilisation and what happens when those threads are broken; whether it’s in Europe, Asia or Africa.

I take no offence in being deemed a ‘witless idiot’ by someone whom I doubt would earn my respect in any case. But I regret that this has happened on a thread which should be honouring the achievements of those who have set up this site and those who seek to contribute knowledgibly and honestly to it. Apologies to Philip. Leave it at that.

@Paul MacDonnell

So I’m now to add “sanctimonious” to the charge sheet along with “empty posturing” and “witless idiocy”? And, having been subjected to such personal abuse, to then engage in discusssion with you? I think people might be entitled to conclude that I deserve to be called ‘witless’ etc., if I did.

This should not be happening on this thread. Again, apologies to Philip Lane.

@Paul MacDonnell

6 O’clock in the morning springs to mind – times dat are in it – suppose it’ll have to be Merrion Square – 20 paces I suppose – no crowds!

How’s about ye? You are way way out of line here boyo – were this a real-world forum you would not now be in the room – and not all Irish, or Jews, or Cubans, or Women are as timid as you seem to think they are. Perhaps you might try a little psychological analysis as to your fixation with the 1930s ……. or simply look in the mirror and begin a very very long conversation with what you see.

@Veronica @ Philip
Excuse my deviation into thermodynamics at the mo ………..

Congratulations to all involved on a great blog; I consider it required reading if one is to have any sort of informed opinion on our present economic woes, and it’s refreshing to have such erudite analyses from so many practitioners of the dark art that is economics. The only problem is that it makes the weasel words of our Government Ministers seem all the more pathetic afterwards…

@ David O’Donnell,

Don’t believe in groupthink?

If so, why are the so many calls to positive thinking and “pulling on the green jersey”?

Neither will change our economic truth, just the “group” perception of it. Until the truth rudely interrupts.


Yes, and one would need the forbearance of all three to withstand the insensate rantings of a particular individual.

Yes – Congratulations to Philip. I used to read the Irish Banking Review when I was a student. Despite its ominous title, the IBR was a really good venue for serious commenters to step down from their pedestal and engage with real issues in the Irish Economy. Indeed, Philip’s contribution posted in another thread arguing for a “rainy day fund” back in the late 1990s is illustrative of the often very sensible contributions it provided a platform for. When it died, it really did not in my view have an adaquate replacement. The Quarterly Economic Commentary articles are usually of good quality, but do not really have the function of really debating vigorously current economic issues though I am not quite sure why this is the case. Similarly, the ESR is an academic outlet and has only recently added a policy section which is a welcome development. Frank Barry rightly argues that there were a number of economists who were awake during 2002-2007, but I think the lack of a coherent and dynamic outlet definitely diminished the policy contribution of academic economists during this period. This blog has certainly filled a gaping need and I hope it leads to a number of other ways of improving economic policy debate.

@ Philip Lane,

I wish to add my expression of congratulations, gratitude and best wishes to those of other posters. You and your fellow principal contributors are providing a badly-needed public service. Liam Delaney sums up the achievement and the expectation:
“This blog has certainly filled a gaping need and I hope it leads to a number of other ways of improving economic policy debate”.

One can only hope that our legislators are paying some heed. It appears that some are and it would be of benefit if there were evidence of more doing so. It is they, and only they, who have the power and authority to enforce the required scrutiny and accountability on the design and implementation of economic policy and regulation.

In the meantime the more extensive, inclusive, insightful and incisive the commentary on this blog the more the value and necessity of this scrutiny will be appreciated in the public domain.

Long may it continue.

Congratulations on the success of the site.

By way of comparison, I am webmaster of David McWilliams’ site – in the same period it had about 75% of traffic as IrishEconomy.ie, and we have been online since 2003, so phenomenal traffic growth folks, well done!

Interestingly the geographic breakdown is practically the same – 65.6% of visitors come from Ireland.

@Sarah Carey

My apologies if I was somewhat heated in our disagreement on ministerial accountability. I do strongly believe though that ministers resigning when their departments make large or ongoing blunders would have helped us to avoid the crisis we are in now.

Regarding Godwins law, if people had just let the original clumsy analogy go there would have been just one breach.

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