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Sunday 18 March 2018

Ireland’s future bank notes should be blank says Robert Ballagh

Lyndsey Telford

THE artist who designed the last wave of Irish bank notes before the euro was introduced said if he were to design a new currency for Ireland, the notes would be blank.

Eurosceptic Robert Ballagh believes the euro will collapse and when it does, he has his own ideas for what the country's future currency should look like.

"Ireland would effectively become a provincial province of Europe with no sovereignty or identity so I would design it blank with one line of text in German stating: 'The Irish province of the new German-led euro'," said Mr Ballagh.

"Our sovereignty will be gone, everything will be gone.

"In political terms, the aspirations of the people who fought to create an independent Irish state will have effectively evaporated."

Mr Ballagh, who fiercely opposed the introduction of the euro in 2002, said Ireland's dependence on Europe over the last 10 years has stamped out the nation's identity.

He said a future currency would not deserve the art and symbolism he gave to his past designs.

"I don't think new notes would deserve any kind of artistry," Mr Ballagh went on.

"Bank notes are supposed to symbolise a nation's history and culture. How would you represent Ireland as it is now or where it's going?"

The Dublin-based artist voiced his fears of Ireland entering a fiscal union with the eurozone states, which will require changes to the EU Treaty and result in stricter budget and debt rules, and penalties for those who breach them.

"If this European compact goes through, we will essentially be a province in an empire," Mr Ballagh added.

"All those people who fought in the War of Independence, everything they fought for will be gone. I can almost hear sounds of the patriots revolving in their graves."

He said Ireland should never have joined the euro in the first place.

"I felt the euro project was destined to fail from the beginning," he explained.

"What they have tried to do has never been done in the history of the civilised world. We would never have had a common currency for more than one state. It works for the US but that is one country and that is why it works."

Mr Ballagh said the then government's decision to join the euro was made at a political level - not an economic one - and that current plans by European leaders to save it are too little too late.

"We're in for years of this currency slowly failing, but we'll keep kicking the can down the road," he said.

"I think it will end with everyone realising it's a failure and hopefully there will be an orderly dissolution of the euro.

"No matter how this pans out, it's going to cause an enormous amount of pain to the people."

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