THIS IS one of the most awkward things you’ll ever see.
In 2014, Martin Shanahan, then the newly appointed head of Ireland’s foreign development agency the IDA, appeared on CNBC to discuss Ireland’s strong economic position.
Speaking to the anchors of financial programme Squawk Box, Shanahan was asked by a presenter how Ireland’s tourism industry was tackling the weakening of the Euro– but before he had the chance to answer, another host asked what Ireland was doing using the euro instead of the pound sterling.
Co-anchor Joe Kernen exclaimed “WHAT?” and asked repeatedly “Why would you do that?” to which Shanahan responded “Why wouldn’t we do that?”– clearly trying to spare Kernen the embarrassment of having to explain to him that Ireland was not part of the United Kingdom.
But Kernen, who had recently visited Scotland, kept wondering aloud why Ireland would use the euro when Scotland– a part of the UK– used Scottish pounds.
Shanahan eventually had to tell him that Ireland was not part of the United Kingdom, to which Kernen responded “But you’re right next to it!”.
Shanahan again explained that the islands were “very close, but entirely separate, as you know”, but Kernen insisted “It’s sort of the same island, isn’t it?”.
And when it was mentioned that Northern Ireland did use the pound, and was part of the United Kingdom, Kernen bizarrely said that it would make more sense for the north to use the euro and the Republic to use the pound.
Kernen finished by saying the difference between Ireland and the UK was “too confusing”.
The cringe-worthy incident happened– live on air– seven years ago, but the people of Ireland are re-living it today after the clip was posted to Reddit and subsequently went viral.
Reddit user _FaceOfTheDeep shared the clip to r/Ireland, where it has been watched thousands of times, and over 400 comments despaired at the sheer awkwardness of the exchange.
One person admitted it was “tough to watch” but “the Irish fella did well” in dealing with the situation.
You can check out the clip below.