Noonan reveals his best coping strategy
MIRIAM LORD'S WEEK:As a kid, I used to hide under the stairs and I’ve never found a better policy Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s policy for when things are taking a turn for the worse
Thanks to the Minister for Finance yesterday we have clarity on what happens at Cabinet meetings: they bunker down in the basement of Government Buildings and whistle nervously in the dark until it’s safe to come out again.
It has been a terrible week in what has been a rough period for the Government, and with the budget bearing down at speed things aren’t going to improve for Enda’s hapless crew any time soon.
From The King and I: “While shivering in my shoes/ I strike a careless pose/ And whistle a happy tune/ And no one ever knows, I’m afraid.”
Good advice for when things are going pear-shaped.
James Reilly must be a virtuoso on the flageolet.
And some more advice – this time from Michael Noonan, on what to do when things are taking a turn for the worse: “As a kid, I used to hide under the stairs and I’ve never found a better policy.” The Minister was speaking at a conference in Dublin Castle on preparing for Ireland’s forthcoming EU presidency. Hosted by the very worthy Institute of International and European Affairs, participants drooled over our looming mandarinfest.
The Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) says Ireland’s seventh stint in the EU chair is “arguably its most important as it comes at a critical moment for the future of the union”. That’s a lucky break for Europe. Look at how well our decisive Government is performing on the domestic front.
Noonan delivered his speech to a heavyweight audience of policymakers and “leading thinkers” and took questions from the floor about the challenges he faces next year. In particular he’ll have to steer the fraught discussion on providing a system of banking regulation.
In light of the continuing economic turmoil in Europe has he provisions in place for unexpected shocks and developments that might – they invariably do – crop up during his tenure? The Minister replied: “As a kid I used to hide under the stairs and I’ve never found a better policy.”
There was much laughter, some of it of the nervous variety. Brendan Halligan of the IIEA quickly added: “Of course, the presidency is prepared for all eventualities.”
And a voice groaned: “Aah Jaysus, I can see the Financial Times headline in the morning.” Meanwhile, Cabinet members have been crawling out from under the stairs to have their photographs taken for the official “Who’s Who of the Irish Presidency”.
Ministers and their secretaries general will feature in this online contacts database. The Taoiseach and the Tánaiste had their photographs taken on Wednesday in Government Buildings. Which explains why they looked particularly spruce and shiny on the day.