Richard Curran is deputy editor of the Sunday Business Post and presenter of Dragon’s Den on RTE.
What is your earliest memory of Carrickmacross?
Early days at school. Going for a bag of chips in Greenmount when it used to be on Farney Street near St Joseph’s National School. A bag of chips was 5p. Thursday stalls seemed exciting and the run-up to Christmas when farmers would bring in live turkeys to sell on the street. Old shops like Gartlans at the beginning of Farney St, Katie Mohans, Boyle’s and Paddy Ross’s old shop on O’Neill Street.
Where did you go to school?
National School at St Josephs’ in Carrick and then the Patrician Brothers High School in Carrick.
In school, were accountancy and business studies a natural draw for you?
No. I did neither. I had zero interest in business and only became interested in it when I began working for a business newspaper in 1993, after completing a Masters in Journalism in DCU. My brother Noel had been a business journalist. The Sunday Business Post paid its placement students the most money (£150 per week) and you had a better chance of being kept on for a job. I thought I’d do it for a while and then move on to some real journalism, like crime or politics. But I stuck with business journalism because I liked it.
After school did you go directly into economics & journalism?
I did my degree in Sociology and Theology at Trinity College. I originally wanted to be a social worker. Various jobs after college included: historical walking tours of Dublin (history was a hobby and the money was good), research assistant to a psychiatrist, and a care worker in a juvenile detention centre. Then came the journalism course.
How did you find the transition between newspaper journalism and TV, is there more of a recognition factor?
They are both very different. Newspapers allow you to go into a lot of detail. TV is more about saying the most you can in the shortest time possible. I enjoyed RTE when I worked there in 1999/2000 but felt a bit embarrassed when a few people I didn’t know recognised me from the TV. Dragon’s Den was watched by close to 500,000 per week so a few more people seem to recognise me now. Even more embarrassing.
Has anyone really impressed you on the Dragon’s Den – Dragon or Contestant?
I admired anyone who had the guts to go up those stairs and give it a go. Its like doing a job interview on national television. I thought Sean Gallagher managed to be astute and firm with people, while also being very fair.
How do you think towns like Carrickmacross should deal with the current economic situation?
They need to keep doing what they are good at. Carrick people are incredibly entrepreneurial and have a lot of get up and go. Strengths include the food industry, small service industries, and its share of bigger Irish success stories. Unfortunately, I think things will get worse before they get better, but they will settle down. The biggest lesson to be learned from the recent bubble bursting is, don’t believe anybody because of who they are. Make up your mind about your money, your job or your investments. Too many really bright people, in Ireland and around the world, parked their brain cells, and just listened to what others told them about property, shares and the economy. Nobody knows what the future holds, they are all just guessing.
Do you think economists make good politicians and would you ever be tempted?
Some journalists have made pretty good politicians in the past. I don’t know about economists. I would never be tempted and would be absolutely useless.
If you were elected Mayor of Carrickmacross (with a budget!) what changes would you make to the town?
Extend the festival to at least a fortnight!
Many thanks Richard!
Web Master, Carrickmacross.ie