Wednesday 21 March 2018

Irish ex-pats voice their shock

IRISH ex-pats living in Cyprus have expressed shock at the controversial plan to tax deposits as part of the island's bailout.

The Department of Foreign Affairs estimates there are between 1,000 and 1,500 Irish citizens in Cyprus, primarily retirees.

"Our credit cards are still working, so far, but we can't make any online transactions and of course the banks have been closed since last Friday," Bernadette Charalambous, who is married to a Cypriot, said.

"The only transactions you could do is transfer up to €1,000 to student accounts because there are a lot of young Cypriots studying abroad."

Ms Charalambous, who was born in Dublin, has been living in Cyprus for 27 years.

She said ATMs had been emptied, but were being refilled with restrictions of about €200 placed on withdrawals.

Jean Christou, who has been in Cyprus for 27 years and works as editor of the 'Cyprus Mail', said there were those who understood that their deposits would have to be cut.

"It came as a shock initially but when they thought about it, a lot said it's okay, it has to be done. We're willing to contribute. But then you have the angry crowd," she said.

Ms Christou, originally from Lismore, Co Waterford, said that if the government had asked people, they may have received a more favourable response.

"People would want to help," she said. "Cypriots are very good at pulling together in hard times."

Irish Independent

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