More than €800,000 worth of Irish punts redeemed this year

Central Bank says facility to allow punts to be exchanged for euros to continue indefinitely

 

Members of the public redeemed more than €800,000 worth of old Irish punts this year.

Irish punt banknotes and coins were withdrawn in February 2002 but it is still possible for them to be exchanged for euro at the Central Bank.

Some €700,000 worth of banknotes were exchanged so far in 2019 while in excess of €100,000 worth of old coins were exchanged for euro.

This is the lowest exchange amount made in the last five years.

In 2015, close to €1.5 million in banknotes and €280,000 worth of old Irish punt coins were exchanged.

“The exchange rate was fixed in 1999 when we joined the euro, so the conversion factor for the Irish pound is one euro = IR£0.787564,” a Central Bank spokesman said.

The Central Bank has provided an exchange facility for those who wish to change Irish banknotes and coins into euro since the introduction of the new currency in January 2002.

The organisation said at the time the service would continue indefinitely and a spokesman said they have no plans to end the service.

People can still take their old punt notes and coins to the Central Bank of Ireland in Dublin either by registered post or by use of a drop-box facility.

“Once received by the Central Bank’s currency issue division, the notes/coin will be verified and the euro equivalent reimbursed to the customer by way of electronic transfer to the customer’s nominated bank account,” said the spokesman.

During the height of the financial crisis in 2012, the re-introduction of punts was briefly considered by the then Government if the Republic of Ireland found itself outside the eurozone.

Former tánaiste Eamon Gilmore wrote in his book Inside the Room: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Crisis Government: “I remember one particular crisis meeting that we had ... where the Governor of the Central Bank was present. We talked about what would we need to do to re-launch the punt. How quickly could it be printed.” - PA