Ireland’s IDA boss faces bizarre CNBC interview

CNBC: You have pounds anyway don’t you still? It is sort of the same, same island isn’t it? It is just too confusing...

IDA Ireland’s Martin Shanahan

IDA Ireland’s Martin Shanahan

 

IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan has been quizzed on American television network CNBC’s popular business show Squawk Box about whether Ireland’s low tax policy has helped it create so many talented golfers.

In a bizarre prime time interview Mr Shanahan, who leads the successful foreign direct investment agency, reveals that Ireland uses the Euro.

This claim is met with incredulity by Joe Kernen, a co-anchor of “Squawk Box,” who initially insists that Ireland uses sterling, before being repeatedly corrected by Mr Shanahan.

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In an increasingly strange interview Kernan also expresses surprise that Ireland is not part of Britain and is in fact a different island. “Squawk Box,” is CNBC’s signature morning programme and one of the most popular shows on the dedicated business channel.

The transcript below gives a sense of the type of questioning Mr Shanahan had to deal with while selling Ireland Inc to America, it starts about six minutes into the interview:

CNBC: How does the tax policy turn out such a string of great golfers, Graham, Rory...is it the tax, is this another tax, how does the tax affect the...it is a small place to have so many good golfers?

Shanahan: It is the environment that is probably doing that. It is a pretty good place to live and visit and everything else.

CNBC: What has the weaker euro meant in terms of tourism?

Shanahan: So, I think, em, Ireland is a very globalised economy so we look to what is happening here as much as we do to what is happening in Europe and we look to what is happening in...

CNBC: You have pounds anyway don’t you still?

Shanahan: We have Euros.

CNBC: You have Euros in Ireland?

Shanahan: Yes. We have euros, which is eh...

CNBC: Why do you have euros in Ireland?

Shanahan: A strong recovery....

CNBC: Why do use euros in Ireland?

Shanhan: Why wouldn’t we have euros in Ireland?

CNBC: Huh. I’d use the pound.

Shanahan: We use euro.

CNBC: What about Scotland? I was using Scottish eh...

Shanahan: Scottish pounds.

CNBC: Scottish pounds.

Shanahan: They use Sterling.

CNBC: They use sterling?

Shanahan: They use sterling. But we use euro.

CNBC: What? Why would you do that?

Shanahan: Why wouldn’t we do that.

CNBC: Why didn’t Scotland? No wander they wanted to break away.

Shanahan: They are part of the UK we are not.

CNBC: Aren’t you right next to er?

Shanahan: We are very close but entirely separate.

CNBC: It is sort of the same, same island isn’t it?

Shanhan: And in the North of Ireland they have sterling.

CNBC: They do?

Shanhan: And in the North of Ireland they use sterling.

CNBC: It is just too confusing...

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