The Pathetic Insularity of Michael Noonan


They’re our EU neighbours.

Sinking into poverty and destitution.


Finance Minister Michael Noonan has insisted that Ireland is unlikely to be affected by the Greek crisis because the two countries have no economic connections. Speaking at a Bloomberg event in Dublin, the Minister said Ireland is not on the frontline for contagion from Greece.
Apart from holidaying in the Greek islands, I think most Irish people don’t have a lot (of connections with Greece),” he said.
“If you go into the shops here, apart from feta cheese, how many Greek items do you put in your basket?”

That’s alright then.

Noonan: Greek Crisis Will Not Directly Affect Ireland (Irish Examiner)

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

96 thoughts on “The Pathetic Insularity of Michael Noonan

  1. Jimmy

    What a f****** oaf! I cringe every time I hear him on the radio or TV, you can tell he hardly understands what the hell he is trying to explain.

    McCreevy, Cowen, and Noonan – more like Father Ted characters than Finance Ministers. We really put the finest incompetent gombeens in the most important positions in this country. Hell we even had a Finance Minister who didn’t even have a bank account!

    1. Arty

      Exactly. This racist moron would ideally be sacked, but should at least be made apologise publicly. Greece is facing a desperate situation with children going hungry and soup kitchens in the streets which was no fault of the ordinary people of Greece, but again the fault of corrupt Eurobank policies. Noonan’s jokes at their expense at this terrible time are appalling and an embarrassment to Ireland. How would lighthearted English jibes about the lack of ‘spuds’ have gone down here during the Irish famine !

      1. TadhgLT

        Racist? wtf?

        Noonan is quite right in what he is saying. Ireland has no economic connection with Greece, it has only a (major & significant) monetary connection. This isn’t rocket science lads.

        1. Maeve

          Just because you can’t see the conection doesn’t mean there isn’t one. remember when greece got the first bailout? who went down next? If greece leaves the euro who do you think will leave next? you are a Noonatic as well

  2. Tommy

    Is he wrong though ? Greek yoghurt (made in Ireland), Feta cheese….Georgia Salpa? Am I missing anything?

        1. Lan

          It kinda does though….they’re not our economic partners in damn all. They buy very few of our products and we buy less of their’s.
          Sure their exit from the euro would have effects for us but not really predictable effects, I mean can you guess what would happen?

      1. Sido

        He’s right for once!
        That “Salad Cheese” – you can buy at Tesco is just the same as “Feta Cheese”.

          1. Sido

            Now that’s what I call News. I get a bit tired of the fact that Broadsheet feel it’s OK to constantly push the so called “serious issues”. At the expense of a bit of fun.

    1. L Nialan

      Soryy Mickey – what was that word again – CONTAGION, ah yes that’s the one….

      1. Cat

        Q: What is a sensible thing to do when faced with the problem of contagion from the economic crisis in Greece?

        A: Distance ourselves from Greece.

        ….and the problem is?

  3. bisted

    ‘…and if ye vote yes in the referendum we can do away with that other Greek invention….democracy’

  4. ffintii

    Yes but we export quite a lot of booze, butter and cheeses to Greece, that trade will disappear you idiot.

          1. well

            They won’t be devastated, they’ll pass it along. The buck will keep getting passed until it reaches someone it does devastate, that is when the buck stops.

          2. paul m

            according to greek embassy here in 2007, 1/2billion euros worth of trade from here was going directly to Greece, and they were noting an increase in that. so thats quite a bit to lose out on.

            plus, wherever you’ve plucked your .01% sales reduction for diageo, glanbia or kerry foods thats quite a substantial amount of money to lose in their books (diageos worldwide sales in 2011 were 132bn)

            but hey whats a few billion between economic friends when you can hand it over to unsecured bondholding strangers instead.

            Noonans obviously fearful el duce enda cant be the only tool in the box to come out with a stupid statement in the last few days.

      1. Hugh

        The way the Greek crisis will affect Ireland has precious little to do with what we buy from them nor them from us. It could send us into financial ruin due to the way European debt is interlinked. The point is that Noonan as minister for finance should have a basic grasp of economics and you would think he would understand that. The guy is a thick moron and an embarrassment to us all.

    1. Wayne.F

      “according to greek embassy here in 2007, 1/2billion euros worth of trade from here was going directly to Greece”

      I am reading that as we give them 1/2 billion in imports from Ireland.

      That aside Noonan’s words this morning were painful to listen to

  5. Dave, Dublin

    We’re a small island, they’ve got one of the largest merchant navies in the world. Damn right our economy will feel it if Greece collapses.

      1. Wayne.F

        Oh exactly were would one find the ladies of the night at the Docks? I am interested in doing some err research

  6. Rumpleforeskin

    What a complete and utter moron. That is possibly the stupidest thing I’ve heard from a government minister. As if the fact that we have little in the way of direct trade would be the main concern. Surely he realises that there are more knock-on and lagged effects than that. I mean, it’s not even basic economics because you don’t need to know anything about economics to realise that there would be an impact. So, so, so, so stupid.

  7. Wayne.F

    He did not even mention the opportunity for cheaper package holidays for the Irish masses.

    1. Mani

      Surprisingly, haven’t gone down that much. Probably waiting a couple of months before they can promote the newer, er, ruins.

    1. cluster

      Why does a sing intemperate remark by a middle-of-the-road government minister make you embarrassed to be Irish? Is there a single nationality in the world you could accept without a red face?

      1. Nigel

        Probably because we’re in a near-constant state of repressed hysteria, and over-react with almost violent emotional responses to stuff like this and Enda’s job for a day remark, while the rest of the time we’re frozen in a kind of horrified paralysis, abdicating responsibility for governing the country to one section of society we despise and abdicating responsibility for protest and activism to another section of society we despise, effectively setting EVERYONE up to fail because we’ve been conditioned to believe that the real power to achieve change is far beyond any of us.

        1. Chris

          This is possibly the most insightful analysis of irish socio-political behavior I have ever read (seriously). Fair Play.

        2. barnch

          Nigel, that’s brilliant, I’m flinging it everywhere.

          I’d like to see it in ten foot font on every street in the country.

  8. ScaryLady

    Michael Noonan. The man who bullied a woman with Hepatitis C on her death bed and then made his entry back into politics by a blatant plea for sympathy over his own family circumstances.

    The man has no heart and no feelings for anyone other than himself.

    His attitude is disgusting – Ireland will get it back in spades when we default.

  9. Spaghetti Hoop

    What bothers me is that he said this because he believes we are stupid.

    It’s an old political tactic – Bertie did it all the time.

  10. yourcommentisawaitingmoderation

    Farmed sea bass, dolmades (slobber), gyros, olive oil, Jennifer Aniston….the list is endless!

      1. halcyon days

        Grappa, the baddie from ‘The Wire’ series two (although he wasn’t even Greek); ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ film; taking a young man under your wing and ‘educating’ him


  11. Mark Malone

    This is our chief negotiator on Anglo debt. The same guy who was told to f off when hes asked the fat cats at IBRC – whose wages we stump up – to take a wage cut from the €200-300,000. The same guy who trumpeted a deal with the ECB on March payment of €3,100,000,000 to Anglo moneylenders, but the ECB said that they received no documents regarding negotiations on Anglo debt.

    The guys isnt stupid, but he is dangerous..

  12. Tinny

    Ok but back to the question does anyone have an idea if Irelands banks will be affected significantly by a Greek default…and how?

    1. mickmick

      Depositors in Greece would lose they’re shirt if Greece exits the euro. Corporate depositors would say, Ireland/Spain/Italy might be next so we’d better move our €€s out of their banks. Run on the banks. Collapse, default, carnage.
      It’s already started in Greece. See

    2. droid

      Worst case scenario, Greece leaves the euro, the Spanish and Italian bank/bonds ponzi schemes are fatally compromised by lack of market confidence, half of Europe goes to the wall, bankrupting the ECB whilst destroying our banking system.

    3. Wayne.F

      Not by much although according to the INDO yesterday every man women in child of Eire will be hit with a € 320 bill if they default.

      I think it is the French Banks that have the biggest exposure to the Greek debt

  13. El Cuno

    We’re not Greece….

    But we will be soon enough.

    It’s a pretty moronic view to take on the situation.

  14. Wexford Blue

    Scandalous comment from a long line of ignorant fools in government. We are led by the least among us.

  15. paul

    The amendments he signed to this Fiscal Treaty at the end of January were nothing short of Ireland’s death sentence. Horrible and dangerous individual, damage done.


    What a complete and utter W*nker, does this muppet realise the shite coming out of his mouth?

  17. bren

    According to these folks (Irish Maritime Development Office):

    “2009 saw the total value of trade between Ireland and Greece increase by 3% and exports increasing by 4% meanwhile, imports on the other hand were down 8% on 2008 values.

    Medical and pharmaceutical products were the most significant export to Greece in 2009 … €128 million, an increase of 20 million on 2008. ”

    So, an increase in trade, and in the medical/pharma sector (who will surely save us all)?

    1. well

      are you implying that because trade has increased while Greece has gotten worse that this trend will continue if/when Greece defaults?

          1. bren

            No – I happen to know someone who exports to Greece. My point really was that we do trade with them, if they leave the Euro it will affect Ireland in some way.

            Someone has already pointed out that this trade has collapsed (below), so I accept the fact is incorrect.

            Although, given we are all part of a European *Union*, I think we should be trying to find a way for it to work for everyone, not just the larger countries. However, this is just ideological.

      1. Mani

        Self-praise and in the third person? bloody hell. Times are tough. If you need approval this badly the internets are probably the wrong place for someone with such neediness and fragile self-esteem.

        1. Wayne.F

          Maybe Mani but unlike allot of the NO camp and those with left leaning tendencies on here, Tommy is backing it up with indisputable evidence so he may have ego issues but his point is valid!

          1. Mani

            I have no issue with his point but the manner in which he made it, akin to some frat-boy on spring break, dunking a nerds head in a toilet, while trying to supress an erection.

        2. El Cuno

          And if the “export-led recovery” is to save us all, I suspect we will need every 0.3% we can get.

          In any case, it is a time to show a bit of support and respect, not making stupid jokes about feta cheese.

          The sound of the journos sniggering at the press conference also made me puke.


  18. Jimbo

    What do we expect from a Minister for Finance who, up until recently, had shares in German banks? Having said that, what country would tolerate such a man as it’s finance chief?

  19. cluster

    It isn’t even the point how close the links are.

    There are a lot of factors which could influence possible contagion other than balance of trade. So firstly he has made himself look stupid and us less competent.

    Secondly, it comes across like he is trying to kick Greece when it is down, which has little benefit to us.

    Himself and Varadkar and Creighton could do with only speaking when absolutely necessary. Perhaps we could get minders and handlers to follow them around 24/7 a la Kenny to minimise the damage they do.

  20. DFall

    If I could cut my connections with anyone it wouldn’t be the Greeks, it would be Noonan.

    What an arrogant and inhumane thing to say. How would he like it if Spain expressed similar views on Ireland?

    1. Violent Elizabeth Bott

      And to whose buses would they send their kids to screech all summer long if not ours?? HMMMMMMMMMM??!!

      Gotta love the Spanish students, tbf.

      1. Violent Elizabeth Bott

        That pic ‘n’ mix counter in the Stephens Green centre would go to the wall for starters.

      2. DFall

        They could spend their euros/pesetas in number of other English speaking countries I suppose.

  21. JohnM

    Greek sensibilities aside, that has to rank as one of the most depressing comments from any Irish minister ever. Worse when you see the tv clip from the Bloomberg thingy and the ripple of uncertain laughter from the audience.

  22. paul

    I hear the crisis is averted! The greeks are giving europe a large wooden horse as part payment for the bail out. phew.

  23. Jockstrap

    This is part of an attempt to desensitize Irish people to the Greek crisis.

    RTE were very scant on reporting of the protests there last year because the government is crapping itself over the people here getting ideas. Shouldn’t be hard though. Most people are glued to X-Factor.

    Expect more propaganda to discourage empathy with the Greeks.

    1. paul m

      any word on whether some strings will be pulled to allow ireland to progress automatically to the next round of euro 2012 thereby boosting apathy for protest, quelling any revolutionary ideas and putting even more money into the exchequer via alcohol?

  24. Stevie Coppell

    The following was in the Irish Times report today an later removed –

    ” In all other countries people are concerned about growing inequality. In Ireland we need to keep focus on more important issues of corporate profitability and tax protection we offer international organisations. This is not the time for drastic moves to the left simply to suit populist demands for simplistic idealism of “social justice ”

  25. David B

    Lol… This guy is a joker. I also cannot believe the niavity and stupidity of anyone who agrees with him. Maybe they should refer to the press conference given by Sir Mervyn King today re the likely consequences and knock ons of any Greek withdrawal from the Euro.

  26. hemen parekh

    Who can sack the voters ?

    Apparently , no one

    But voters of Europe are sacking their Prime Ministers / Politicians left & right.

    Here is a brief list :

     Italy ……………………. Silvio Berlusconi

     Britain ………………… Gordon Brown

     Greece ……………….. George Papendreou

     Spain …………………. Jose Zapatero

     Ireland ……………….. Brian Cowen

     Portugal …………….. Jose Socrates

     France ………………… Nicolas Sarkozy

    Who are next ?

     Germany ………………. Angela Merkel ?

     India ……………………. Manmohan Singh ?

    And what was their fault ?

    They spoke bitter truth which people did not want to hear , viz:,

    “ We must cut back on Government borrowing – and spending. We need to lower our standard of living, in order to avoid State bankruptcy “

    On the other hand , only last week , Greek people withdrew $ 890 million of their savings from their bank accounts !

    Next in queue are the European lenders

    Mayans were wrong

    World will not come to an end in 2012

    Followed by Greece , the World – order will

    With regards

    hemen Parekh

    Jobs for All = Peace on Earth

  27. krish

    what does ireland produce that any european contry would miss if we were kicked out?

  28. Patrick

    I find it really hard to understand some of the comments on here. The remarks of the Minister for Finance were crass at the very least and rascist at worse. If a minister from the Greek government said ah well, f**k the Irish, we can live without Guiness and spuds,how would we feel. The Greek people have already suffered incredibley under austerity and should not have to suffer more. Instead of showing some solidarity with them, we try to ridicule them. Maybe we are next for ridicule.

  29. Joey

    The Banks are soon to go Bankrupt again with all the Mortgage Defaults, it is now becoming normal and acceptable not to pay the mortgage, banks robbed the people now people rob the banks and who can blame them, yet Noonan has no plan, NAMA 2 on the way, get your money out of the banks while you can.

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