Connect with us


Don’t believe everything you hear




By Michael O’Connor,

A new year, a new market rally.

Lower inflation, a Chinese reopening boom and a resilient labour market resulted in the biggest January gain in the S&P 500 in eight years as Wall Street switched from cautious to confident at the drop of a hat.

In true market fashion, last year’s losers have turned into this year’s darlings. The Tech-heavy Nasdaq Index jumped almost 11% (now up over 17% at the time of writing).

Facebook for example is now up 110% following its 66% loss last year, Netflix is up 120% while Coinbase is up 140%.

Job losses

One of the major contributors to the current market run has been the continued strength in the labour market.

Despite headline news about countless lay-offs, we remain in one of the strongest labour markets in history.

In the US, 517,000 jobs were added in January - the largest monthly gain since last July.

The unemployment rate is now 3.4%, the lowest level since early 1969.

Tech lay-offs have been front and centre, but as always, there is far more to a story than the headline the media are pushing.

Yes, 1.5 million people lost their jobs in the US during December.

However, the crucial data point the media left out was that US employers hired 6.2 million people over the same time period.

In fact, despite the media focus, the ratio of lay-offs to hires are well above historical standards.
Ireland’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was at 4.4 percent in January well below the 5% from the same period a year previous.

Three points to note

Despite the struggles in the tech industry at the moment, it only represents a tiny proportion of the overall labour market. Job losses in tech have been more than offset by new job openings across airlines, hospitality and retail.

Even during periods of robust economic growth, employers subtracted hundreds of thousands - and sometimes millions - of jobs per month.

Data needs context

Yes, current tech cut backs are concerning but there is more to the story than just one data point. During the pandemic these companies pulled forward three years’ worth of demand into one. Consumer tech demand exploded. Head counts expanded rapidly. The pace was never going to be sustainable.

From its fiscal year-end in September 2019 to September 2022, the employee count at Amazon doubled, Microsoft’s rose 53%, Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s increased 57% and Facebook owner Meta’s ballooned 94%.

Wall Street Journal

A single data point never tells the whole story, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story eh?

The truth is, for now, hiring remains strong, and the volume of current job openings out there suggests hiring could remain strong in the months ahead.

Some leading indicators such as wage growth, temp roles and quit rates continue to fall, pointing towards the potential rise in unemployment numbers to com - but we are not there yet.

In my opinion we have reached ‘peak’ employment conditions. As the lag effects of tighter economic policy take hold, this labour market strength will start to show more signs of weakness, but we are slowing from a very strong positions. Don’t let the headline news send you into a frenzy just yet.

Find my full market outlook on

If you need help creating your own investment portfolio, just reach out to me at or simply scan the QR code.



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


Continue Reading


Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

Continue Reading