SHAUN CONNOLLY: Noonan prescribes for us a post-Grexit cheese-free diet

BLESSED are the cheese haters for they shall inherit the wealth.

We do not need to fear the repercussions of the awesome financial blow-back from Greece’s train- wreck exit from the euro, according to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, because it will only make an impact at the cheese counter.

“Apart from holidaying in the Greek islands, I think most Irish people don’t have a lot of connections with Greece. If you go into the shops here, apart from feta cheese, how many Greek items do you put in your basket?” he told a meeting of the country’s business leaders.

How lucky to have never liked cheese as I am now going to be completely unaffected by the Greek exit, — or Grexit as we must annoyingly call it — despite clearly inferior economists to Mr Noonan warning it will blow a €1.2tn hole in the European economy similar to a madman letting off a volley of automatic weapon shots in a compressed airplane cabin which is already enduring extreme turbulence at 50,000ft.

Mr Noonan is also the man who dismissed the forced mass emigration of 1,000 young people a week as a bit of auld wander- lust to get a sun tan — and Mr Noonan is also the man we are supposed to believe about the merits of voting Yes in the referendum.

So if he does not even know his feta cheese from his euro why should we listen to him at all?

Given that the key points of the fiscal compact treaty are either too boring or too complex for most people to engage with, the tone of the campaign is crucial in swaying voters behind one camp or the other, yet the Government’s tone has lurched from the scare-mongering and now, thanks to Richard Bruton, farcical incompetence.

Poor little Richard, kicked all over the place for telling the truth — even if it was by accident and then, humiliatingly, retracted.

Does anyone really believe there would not be a second referendum in the autumn if we dared exercise our democratic right to vote no?

One government spinner got so overexcited trying to dig Bruton out of his hole that he tried to claim that when Bruton was talking about Ireland voting again, he meant the people would demand it, not the Government.

So, in this version of magical realism, we will all wake up on June 1 and cry: “Oh, Enda, how could we have been so stupid? Please, please, please, let us vote for your wonderful fiscal compact thingy again. We have been so foolish!”

But not to worry because Enda has declared that David Cameron is his bestest mate in the world, well that Britain is Ireland’s “best friend on the world stage” anyway (which must have caused fury in the White House, but then Mr Kenny is clearly still smarting that despite his super-charged sycophancy to Obama, Downing Street’s Dave was the first foreign leader to get a ride on Air Force One, not him).

But is cosying-up to Cameron really the best move right now? His petulant nationalism saw Britain frozen out of influence in Brussels, where he now bleats on the sidelines as the dual monarchy of Berlin and Paris decide everything for us — and the British PM has always lacked a certain amount of trustworthiness.

In fact Dave is so dodgy he even fibs about his favourite album.

When he was in opposition and trying to shake-off his toff image, Cameron attempted an ill-judged grab at street cred by claiming seminal ‘80’s indie epic The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths was top of his charts.

But, suddenly, now in power he has announced that accolade lies with Pink Floyd’s yawn-inducing Dark Side Of The Moon.

Quite a change in musical direction, and one no doubt decided upon in an attempt not to cause offence to Her Majesty in the fawn-fest of her diamond jubilee year.

And if Dave will lie about something as mundane as a favourite album, what else can he not be trusted with?

Though, even if he really did like The Smiths, given his family connections, he would probably have referred to the CD as The Queen, Who Actually Happens To Be My Fifth Cousin, Is Dead.

But, anyway, Dodgy Dave’s our new best bud, according to Enda, so we had just better get used to his slippery ways, because he’s flashing something we might very well need in the near future — sterling.

The ever helpful Daily Telegraph was preparing its readers for the Grexit and great euro implosion by telling them which notes they pick up on holiday to keep or kill as there is a handy nationality number on the back.

The newspaper said cling onto the ones beginning with an X as they are solid German denominations, definitely ditch those beginning with a Y as they are Greek and sliding towards worthlessness — and, worryingly, avoid touching the ones beginning with T as they are Irish and pretty unpredictable too.

So, maybe sheltering under sterling would not be such a bad move? Well, yes it would, really, as Britain has desperately depreciated the currency and pumped out hundreds of billions of extra pound notes in a “quantative easing” exercise which has still seen the country slide back into recession.

Indeed, the situation is now so perilous that the Bank of England governor Mervyn King moaned this week that the double public holiday for the golden jubilee next month would suck another €12bn out of the economy in lost commerce and could help keep the economy tanking for longer than expected.

An intervention which prompted the glorious headline: “King blames Queen.”

The EU will always be our economic sun, but the cheese- wire rhetoric of the Yes campaign and Dodgy Dave’s double-dip recession means we are in Cameron’s orbit — and drifting dangerously to the dark side of his moon.


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