| AN Irish village has taken its lead from a town in Spain whose shops accept pesetas by allowing customers to use the pre-euro currency.
In Clones, in Co Monaghan, a village in the Republic of Ireland and close to the Ulster border, shops and restaurants display signs stating that they will take Irish pounds as payment.
Petrol station Tony Morgan explains that his son, Ciaran, was the brains behind the move, which now includes 42 retailers in Clones.
Ciaran Morgan told his father about the idea when he heard that around 60 shops and bars in the fishing village of Mugardos (A Coruña) in Galicia had begun to accept pesetas as well as euros.
Since Clones' traders began taking their old currency again, Tony says he has already netted 1,000 Irish pounds (about 1,269 euros) in two months.
Rather like in Mugardos, the publicity generated by the idea has increased trade as visitors come from far and wide – and an added bonus in the case of Clones is that they also accept British pounds, meaning those popping over the border from Northern Ireland do not have to change their currency before spending.
This and the fact that in Spain and Ireland – both of which entered the euro in 2002 – eight-figure sums of money in pesetas and Irish pounds are said to be sitting around in households across the country mean that people can now buy goods with cash which was previously worthless.
In 2010, the Irish Central Bank (ICB) changed a total of 1.8 million Irish pounds for euros, at a rate of 0.90 Irish pounds to the euro, and in 2011 a further 313,577 euros' worth of Irish pounds were exchanged.
This said, at the end of 2010, the ICB estimated that there were still around 238 million Irish pounds in notes and 125.5 million in coins stuffed into drawers and down the back of sofas in homes throughout the country.