The town of Clones, on the County Cavan Monaghan border, is officially accepting the Irish punt (pound) as payment for goods, alongside the euro and the sterling. Their campaign is called “Embrace the Punt”.
Ten years ago the Irish punt was replaced by the euro. However, according to the Ireland’s Central Bank there are IR₤300 million “outstanding”.
The Irish Times reports that 42 shops in Clones, including the SuperValu supermarket are accepting Irish punts.
Shopkeeper Tony Morgan was the first retailer to reintroduce the punt two months ago in his shop, Liptons. He said so far they have taken in IR₤1,000.
Morgan said “We give change in vouchers that can be used in any of the 42 shops in our town.”
The shopkeeper added “It’s going to be running for us for five years I’d say – I think it’s long-term.”
According to BreakingNews reports, Morgan’s son, Ciaran had the idea when he heard of the Spanish fishing village of Mugardos where 60 local stores had recently reintroduced the peseta.
President of the Clones Chamber of Commerce Finbarr Dunwoody said half of the shops on the main street of the town are now closed.
Dunwoody said “Our town has been starved of business, and we will do anything we can to get people shopping here...the crazier the better.”
Morgan said “We couldn’t have bought better publicity and advertising. There are always people coming home on holidays, people who are in London, abroad, they’ve emigrated and they can come down to the shop and spend.“The fact that 42 businesses have taken it on shows that it’s a runner.
“Mind you, if I had suggested in the town to bring back the punt on my own they would have sent some boys out with a straitjacket for me.
“There’s a bit of positivity for a change around the country.
“It’s so negative – we are talking to each other in the chamber of commerce meeting and they are a bit more light-hearted.”
It seems that the punt may certainly be an untapped source of wealth in Ireland. Ireland’s Central Bank reported that during the first 11 months of 2011 they took in IR£1,803,760 in notes and IR£246,962.30 in coins.
Here’s the video for the “Embrace the Punt” campaign: