David McWilliams (Ireland)

David McWilliams (Ireland)

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Economist, Journalist & Former Banker

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David is ranked the tenth most influential economist in the world. As well as writing a weekly column in the Irish Times, he is active on social media and was named Ireland’s “most influential Twitter user”. David uses new ways to explain our economic world to make economics digestible for everyone.


David McWilliams is one of Ireland’s leading economic commentators. He was one of the first economists to see that the Irish boom was little more than a credit bubble, and one of the few to predict it would all end in a monumental crash with bank failures, negative equity and rising unemployment and emigration. He was also the only economist in Ireland who accurately forecast a strong UK Brexit vote and the Trump victory.

He has devoted his entire professional life to the objective of making economics as widely available and easily understandable on as many platforms and to as many people as possible –and is having a laugh doing it. As a result, he co-founded the world’s only economics and stand-up comedy festival Kilkenomics, described by the FT as “simply, the best economics conference in the world”.

David also brought economics to the theatre with his one-man-show Outsiders, a partnership with the Abbey Theatre. He writes weekly economics columns in the Sunday Business Post and the Irish Independent and is a regular commentator in the media in Ireland and the UK.

Amongst David’s books are The Pope’s Children, the bestselling examination of the so-called Celtic Tiger boom centred on the generation born around Pope John Paul II’s visit to the country and described by the Sunday Tribune as “the definitive guide to the Ireland we live in”. The book was the first in a trilogy and was the basis of an award-winning TV series, In Search Of The Pope’s Children. The second of the trilogy was The Generation Game, which predicted the 2008/09 crash and the fact that one generation would be left suffering negative equity for years. It also explored the redemptive economic power of the Irish global diaspora. This book and subsequent TV series proved to be the catalyst to the Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh. The final book in the trilogy Follow the Money continued to look at the sale generation and examined who was to blame for the crisis along with an optimistic look at the future.

As well as writing David hosted the current affairs show Agenda on TV3, The Breakfast Show on Newstalk 106 and the topical chat show The Big Bite on RTE1. He has interviewed some of the most influential and thought-provoking characters from Henry Kissinger to Mikhail Gorbachev and Hillary Clinton. Prior to his time as a writer and commentator he worked for a decade in banking, first as an economist with the Irish Central Bank, then with the investment banks UBS and BNP.

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Book written by David McWilliams (Ireland)
Book written by David McWilliams (Ireland)
Book written by David McWilliams (Ireland)