Ambassador warns Irish tourists to bring extra cash as ATM queues lengthen
IRELAND'S Ambassador to Cyprus has warned Irish holiday makers to bring extra cash with them to the island - amid growing fears banks will stop dispensing money through ATMs.
Pat Scullion said that while the situation remained relatively calm and ATMs were still operating, no one was certain what could happen in the coming days.
Banks on the island have been closed since last weekend to prevent a flight of deposits after an EU/IMF bailout deal was proposed which would have seen €5.4bn raised by introducing a levy on all deposit accounts.
The move has prompted long queues at ATMs, which are currently dispensing a daily maximum of between €400 and €700, depending on the type of account.
And with the bailout deal subsequently being rejected by the Cypriot parliament, there is growing uncertainty on the island over how long the banks will be able to continue dispensing cash.
"We are fortunate enough it is not the high season, so we don't have a hugh number of Irish tourists," Mr Scullion told independent.ie.
"The banks have been closed since last week and the government has said they will remain closed until next Tuesday.
"But they are topping up the ATM machines and as far as I am aware, cash is available.
But of course we are coming into another holiday weekend when normally the demand at the ATMs is quite high.
"I think anybody travelling from Ireland over the coming days would be advised to take an amount of cash with them.
"It is always important to have cash, because as this problem progresses, the longer the banks stay closed the harder it is for suppliers to buy goods, so the demand for cash will probably become greater.
"As I say the ATMs at the moment are working and the banks have said they will continue to fill them. And I think over the next few days things will be fine.
"I think by next Tuesday if the banks don't reopen, I think we are in for a different situation."