Saturday 17 February 2018

'Government had plans to introduce punt if euro collapsed' - Brendan Howlin

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin.

Paul O'Donohue

The Government had drawn up contingency plans in case the euro had collapsed during the darkest days of the Eurozone debt crisis in 2011, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said.

He indicated that the Government was looking at re-introducing the punt and said there were plans to increase security at banks.

This was done when Italy’s financial stability was at the centre of serious concerns across the Eurozone shortly after the coalition entered office.

Speaking to the Irish Times ahead of the Labour Party conference, Mr Howlin said: “Early on in our time there was a real existential threat to the euro when Italy was  under enormous pressure.”

He added: “We had to make contingency plans for the collapse of the euro at the time. There were a number of things done, they were all anchored in the EMC (Economic Management Council). The Attorney General had to look at legislation. Key finance people, public expenditure people were involved in discussions in relation to that.”

In relation to a reintroduction of the punt as a currency, Mr Howlin said: “All avenues were considered”.

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