Inventor Who Changed Our Relationship With Money
Deaglán de Bréadún
Next time you’re withdrawing cash from an ATM, spare a thought for John Shepherd-Barron who is one of those credited (no pun intended) with inventing the device.
He has just passed away and you can read his obit here . When ATMs first came on the scene, a friend of mine remarked rather bitterly that, “Now the banks have us queuing for our money in the rain.”
Seemingly J S-B had the idea sitting in the bath one day. He used vouchers at first and the initial withdrawal in 1967 was for a Tenner, which he reckoned was enough for a “pretty wild weekend”.
It would cost a little more than that now. Incidentally, it drives me crazy when the ATM says there is nothing smaller than 50 Euro notes. That doesn’t seem to happen in other Eurozone countries, at least in my experience.
Now I see there is a beermat that shows you how to withdraw money for a night’s drinking if you find yourself short. Have we not got enough drinking already in this troubled land?
Innocent that I am, I confess to being shocked at the stories I hear about coke intake in this town at weekends. Have these people no sense of responsibility? A Colombian politician – one of the more reputable ones – once said to me that, everytime people sniff coke, they are really putting the blood of the innocents up their nose.
Isn’t it time there was legal/police action against coke-sniffers on a parallel with drink-drivers? I am told it is not practicable: a former justice minister said, ‘You can’t turn the country into an internment camp.” But I am not so sure it would’t work. A little creative thinking a la John Shepherd-Barron is called for.