Kicking ass, not kissing it, is what Noonan is paid for
Maybe it's not as bad as it looks. The spectacle of finance minister Michael Noonan fawning over Donald Trump at Shannon Airport last Monday was both a jaw-dropper and a head-scratcher.
Here was the driving force behind the government's economic strategy – the designated tough guy on whom we rely to press Ireland's case in the EU backrooms – taking time out from a no doubt hectic schedule to pay homage to an eccentric celebrity tycoon.
As a hard-headed realist, Noonan will appreciate why the scene struck a disconcerting note. Kicking ass, not kissing it, is what he's paid to do. Trump had flown in aboard his customised Boeing 757 – his surname emblazoned across the sides in 4ft-high gold lettering in case he ever mislays it – to inspect the golf course at Doonbeg, Co Clare, which he recently purchased for €15m.