I know we like to think that our wee island packs a punch beyond its size, but any illusion that we are a household name kind of comes crashing down with one interview on one of America’s most respected financial networks CNBC.
If you have not been following this story, the Chief Executive of the Irish Development Agency, Martin Shanahan was invited onto the programme to discuss Ireland’s tax system which has been debated in the corridors of power in the United States.
However, it didn’t really go that way as the interviewer, Joe Kernan seemed perplexed to find out that the Republic of Ireland uses the the Euro and that Northern Ireland uses the pound. In a comment that would bring a smile to any republican Kernan argued that “you guys gotta get it together” as it seemed crazy to him that one island would have two currencies. An increasingly confused Kernan seemed like his head was going to explode as Shanahan explained to him that for nearly a century now North & South have been divided.
WARNING: Face palm alert for those who wish to read the transcript of the interview provided by the Independent
CNBC’s Kernen: You have pounds anyway don’t you still?
Shanahan: We have euros.
CNBC’s Kernen: You have euros in Ireland?
Shanahan: Yes. We have euros, which is eh…
CNBC’s Kernen: Why do you have euros in Ireland?
Shanahan: A strong recovery….
CNBC’s Kernen: Why do use euros in Ireland?
CNBC’s Kernen: Why wouldn’t we have euros in Ireland?
CNBC: I’d use the pound.
CNBC’s Kernen: We use euro.
CNBC: What about Scotland? I was using Scottish eh…
CNBC’s Kernen: Scottish pounds.
CNBC: Scottish pounds.
CNBC’s Kernen: They use Sterling.
CNBC: They use sterling?
Shanahan: They use sterling. But we use euro.
CNBC’s Kernen: WHAT? Why would you do that?
Shanahan: Why wouldn’t we do that.
CNBC’s Kernen: Why didn’t Scotland? No wander they wanted to break away.
Shanahan: They are part of the UK we are not.
CNBC’s Kernen: Aren’t you right next to er?
Shanahan: We are very close but entirely separate.
CNBC’s Kernen: It is sort of the same, same island isn’t it?
Shanhan: And in the North of Ireland they have sterling.
CNBC’s Kernen: They do?
Shanhan: And in the North of Ireland they use sterling.
CNBC’s Kernen: It is just too confusing…
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs