Thursday 23 November 2017

Ireland no longer in spotlight

BACON and cabbage are off the menu and the big green banners are coming down in Brussels.

For the first six months of this year it was all about Ireland, in a good way for once. Banners bearing the word "Eire" adorned the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, the site of European leaders' summits and inter-country council meetings.

Outside the building's canteen, the Punt got used to the poster showing images of Ireland, psyching visitors up for the regional fare on offer during big summits.

Now, it's all about Lithuania.

Michael Noonan got a brutal reminder of how quickly things change this week when he arrived in Brussels for his first meeting after the end of the Irish presidency.

As he and his entourage walked into the meeting area they could have been forgiven for thinking they were in the wrong place.

Gone was the mad scramble of international reporters and camera crews desperate to get a quote from the man of the moment.

Mr Noonan was praised during the meeting, but all the attention was already focused on his Lithuanian counterpart.

No doubt, though, Mr Noonan was quite happy. The pressure has now moved to another country.

Irish Independent

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