Time to write off all those ‘missing’ punts

Twelve years ago, Ireland changed over from the punt to the euro. Today, the Central Bank continues to exchange old punts for euro (at face value).

At the end of 2003, the total value of all uncashed punt bank notes was about £275m.

That figure has declined logarithmically every year since then. Current estimates put the total value at about £232m. It seems strange that, on average, each citizen still seems to be hoarding about 50 old punts.

They are hardly worth the paper on which they were printed. Many people just keep them as souvenirs and may never cash them.

Would the government improve the country’s balance sheet by £232m Irish punts if they wrote off all uncashed punts? A large windfall is always welcome, even when generated by legally creative accountancy.

The bailout is now history. Our leaders no longer need to beg international financial powers for permission to legislate.

There is a precedent. A previous government appropriated the balances in dormant bank accounts, although some people thought that would never happen.

Michael Mernagh


Co Cork

More in this section