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CNBC host appears to be unaware that the UK and Ireland are different countries

Dylan Matthews is a senior correspondent and head writer for Vox's Future Perfect section and has worked at Vox since 2014. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

Ireland, like most members of the European Union, uses the euro. The United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland and Scotland, kept the pound as its currency instead. This is not particularly complicated, but it is apparently quite confusing to Joe Kernen, co-host of CNBC's "Squawk Box."

The show hosted Martin Shanahan, the head of IDA Ireland, an Irish government agency responsible for promoting foreign investment in the country. When Kernen's co-host Rebecca Quick asked Shanahan how the weaker euro affected tourism to Ireland, Kernen erupted in utter bafflement, as you can see in the above video.

Specifically, Kernen appears unable to grasp that Ireland and the UK are separate countries:

KERNEN: What about Scotland? I was using Scottish pounds.

SHANAHAN: Scottish pounds, yes. They use sterling.

KERNEN: They use sterling?

SHANAHAN: They use sterling. But we use euro.

KERNEN: WHAT? Why would you do that?

SHANAHAN: Why wouldn't we do that?

KERNEN: Why didn't Scotland? No wonder they want to break away.

SHANAHAN: They're part of the UK, we're not.

KERNEN: Aren't you right next to …

SHANAHAN: We're very close, but entirely separate, as you know.

KERNEN: It's sort of the same island, isn't it?

SHANAHAN: And in the North of Ireland, they have sterling …


SHANAHAN: … but we have euro.

KERNEN: It's just too confusing.

Kernen has a germ of a point — being in the euro rather than preserving its own currency was a mistake on Ireland's part — but he really needs to get his British Isles straight.

Thanks to Matt O'Brien for the pointer.

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