THE people of Dundalk are set to be left penniless, if a new trial from the Central Bank has its way. The trial suggested by the National Payments Plan would see a phasing out of one and two cent coins, with relative values of products either rounded up or rounded down.
Dundalk, local rivals Drogheda, and Bray are all in the running to be guinea pigs for the new sytem, which has been used in other European countries such as Finland and the Netherland.
This system works simply by rounding the prices of goods, meaning that one and two cents will no longer need to be returned by cashiers.
With this rounding system goods and services are still priced in multiples of one or two cent but are rounded up at the till.
For expample a bill of e10.21 is rounded down to e10.20 while a bill of e10.23 is rounded up to e10.25.
The National Payments Plan (NNP) say they want the system to be trialled in a mid-sized town to the see how it fares.
Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat, outgoing President of the Dundalk Chamber of Commerce Paddy Malone said he was wary of the project.
“I’m a wee bit wary of it. I’m just about old enough to remember the change over to decimalisation. It seemed at the time that customers lost out in that, and I would worried that something similiar might happen in this situation.
“That said retailers are having difficulties with banks and the use of the one and two cent pieces, but that is largely because the banks don’t appear to want to deal with them. It could be of benefit in that regard.”
The NPP report published by the Central Bank this week also recommends the public sector stop using cheques.
The recommendations are aimed at saving €1 billion to the Irish economy by increasing the use of electronic forms of payment such as debit cards and electronic banking.
Similiar systems have been used in Australia and the New Zealand, where inflation means the value of 1 and 2 cent pieces are impractical.
Currently coins in Ireland are copper plated, and this raises the prospect of coins being worth more as scrap metal then for their specified monetary value.