CNBC presenter quizzes IDA Ireland boss...doesn't realise Ireland isn't part of the UK and no longer uses the pound


Maria Tadeo@mariatad
Tuesday 04 November 2014 11:36

If you're interviewing the head of Ireland's foreign investment agency on American television there are two things you need to know: the Republic of Ireland is an independent country and has been using the euro for 15 years.

But a CNBC presenter was flabbergasted by the claim as he quizzed Martin Shanahan, the new chief executive of IDA Ireland, about the country's economic recovery and its low tax regime.

* Scroll down to watch video (06:55) *

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse, when the discussion moved to the euro and the effects of a weaker currency on tourism in Ireland.

The show's presenter, Joe Kernen, was shocked when he found out on live television Ireland and Northern Ireland are two different countries.

For those who don't know: one is part of the UK, the other one isn't. And, naturally, one uses sterling, while the other one uses the euro and is part of the euro zone. But not for Joe.

In a bizarre rant, the veteran American presenter insisted Ireland should use the pound because "it's sort of the same island" and suggested "you guys gotta get it together" as Mr Shanahan tried, and failed, to explain Northern Ireland is a different country and Dublin is "very happy with the euro".

Kernen was equally confused by the Scottish pound, before adding: "No wonder they wanted to break away", presumably referring to Scotland's independence referendum in September.

Here is a transcript of the interview:

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...

Indeed, Joe.

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