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Written Answers. - Euro Notes.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 143. Mr. Rabbitte Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  asked the Minister for Finance Information on Charlie McCreevy Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  if he has received complaints from members of the public regarding the quality of euro notes, and in particular the five euro note; if his attention has been drawn to the estimated lifespan of these notes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10435/02]

 147. Mr. Currie Information on Austin Currie Zoom on Austin Currie  asked the Minister for Finance Information on Charlie McCreevy Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a considerable number of euro bank notes already show signs of wear and tear; if this results from the quality of the notes or the way in which they are treated; if the quality is consistent in all euro countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10479/02]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): Information on Charlie McCreevy Zoom on Charlie McCreevy I propose to take Questions Nos. 143 and 147 together.

[843]The production, issue and withdrawal of the euro banknotes fall within the responsibility of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). I am assured by the Central Bank of Ireland that the quality of the euro banknotes produced is consistent across all the euro area member states.

I have received a letter from a member of the public about the condition of euro banknotes in circulation in Ireland, mentioning €5 notes in particular. The Central Bank advises that while it has not received complaints, it has noticed that some €5 notes in particular are already exhibiting signs of deterioration. This phenomenon, the bank says, is similar to the pattern observed with the quality of IR£5 banknotes: the average life of the IR£5 banknote was about five months. It is too early to estimate the length of the life of the €5 banknote but it is unlikely to be much different from the IR£5 banknote, as the quality of the paper in both notes and the manufacturing processes used are virtually the same. The average life length of banknotes in Ireland has traditionally been much shorter than that of banknotes in other countries in the euro area. This seems to result from the way in which the banknotes are treated in circulation. In this context the Central Bank made an appeal to the public, shortly after the euro changeover began, to handle the new notes with care, including by carrying them in a wallet or some similar holder, and not to crumple their notes or fold them more than once. The Central Bank would repeat this appeal.

In addition, the bank points out that there is a particular problem in relation to the lowest denomination notes because retailers require these as change and do not lodge them. This in turn makes it difficult for the bank to remove badly-deteriorated notes and replace them with new ones. I am advised that the Central Bank is examining ways in which the quality of the €5 note circulation might be improved.


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