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Written Answers. - Euro Coins.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 122. Mr. Crowe Information on Sean Crowe Zoom on Sean Crowe  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  if his attention has been drawn to any possible health implications for people from this country and other EU countries who are nickel sensitive regarding the use of the new euro coins; if his attention has further been drawn to reports that these coins have a high nickel content and cause problems for people who are nickel sensitive; if he has considered raising this matter with other European member states; and the measures he intends to take to overcome this problem. [18680/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin Responsibility for the manufacture and circulation of Irish coins rests with the Central Bank of Ireland. However, the Central Bank has informed me that as a result of the introduction of the euro, there is now far less nickel in coins in circulation than was the case before the euro entered circulation. Nickel is used in only two of the euro coins – the €1 and €2 coins. By contrast, nickel was used in the 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, and £1 coins of the Irish currency. This pattern is replicated throughout the euro area. As a result, 92% of euro coins – in terms of the number of coins in circulation – are nickel-free as opposed to 25% of the national coins that were in circulation.

The nickel used in the €1 and €2 coins is essentially contained inside the alloy and not on the surface of the coin, thus limiting skin contact. The Central Bank has also informed me that since the introduction of euro coins into circulation, they have received no reports of nickel-allergy problems arising from the coins.

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