Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Finance
Question 150: To ask the Minister for Finance the outstanding amount of punts remaining to be exchanged for euro at the Central Bank of Ireland at the end of January 2011; if he will detail the legislation or regulations under which this exchange is currently regulated by and taking place under; if he will confirm that the Central Bank of Ireland must under Irish law continue to exchange punts to euro indefinitely; if he will consider introducing a final date for transfer after which the outstanding punts will no longer be exchanged; the annual cost of providing such an exchange service and facilitating the disposal of used punts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9211/12]
· Irish £ coin €125.1 million
Section 121 of the Central Bank Act 1989, as inserted by Section 18 of the Economic and Monetary Union Act 1998, provides that the Central Bank of Ireland may continue to redeem Irish pound notes, or any other notes that were previously legal tender. The Government does not intend to introduce a final date for exchange of outstanding punts at this time, but the process will be kept under review in consultation with the Central Bank.
Based on 2010 figures, the annual cost of providing such an exchange service and facilitating the disposal of used punts is estimated at €368,600.
Question 151: To ask the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an average of more than €10,000 is exchanged from punts to euro at the Central Bank of Ireland on a daily basis; if he monitors this exchange process; if any examination or explanation process is required to ascertain the location from whence such large sums are coming from more than a decade since they introduction of the euro; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9212/12]
I have been informed by the Central Bank that some €2.6m was exchanged from punts to euros at the Central Bank of Ireland in 2011, with some variation in the daily amounts. The Central Bank is satisfied of the legitimacy of the level of exchange, which is derived from various sources. The Central Bank does not have details of the profile of larger exchanges, but I am advised that it intends to undertake an analysis of this. The Central Bank also intends to consult with other National Central Banks about whether the total outstanding amount of Irish currency is typical. However, the Central Bank continuously monitors the currency exchange process to ensure the provision of a secure public service including appropriate audit trails and procedures to notify the authorities of any suspicious transactions.