Shopkeepers hoping customers will take a punt on Clones
The Irish pound or punt is being accepted in shops in the town of Clones, Co Monaghan, as payment for goods alongside the euro and sterling in the first move of its kind by a town in the Republic.
The currency became all but obsolete when it was replaced by the euro 10 years ago, but according to the Central Bank there are still more than 300 million Irish pounds “outstanding”.
While it is no longer legal tender, notes and coins can still be exchanged for euro at the Central Bank in Dublin.
However, 42 shops in Clones, including a local SuperValu, will accept it as payment for goods.
“We give change in vouchers that can be used in any of the 42 shops in our town,” explained shopkeeper Tony Morgan.
He was the first retailer to reintroduce the Irish pound. That was two months ago, and “we have taken in about 1,000 pounds”.
His shop, Liptons, has championed the Embrace the Punt campaign.
More than 50 per cent of units on the main street of Clones are closed, according to the president of Clones Chamber of Commerce Finbarr Dunwoody.
“Our town has been starved of business, and we will do anything we can to get people shopping here.
“Nearly the crazier the better,” said Dunwoody.