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Thursday 26 April 2018

'They're a nuisance so we just use the 5c coins'

Paddy Reville from the Green Corner in Wexford said customers were supportive of the ‘rounding’ trial run two years ago
Paddy Reville from the Green Corner in Wexford said customers were supportive of the ‘rounding’ trial run two years ago
James O’Connor, who owns Green Acres in Wexford

Sam Griffin

Retailers and shoppers in Wexford were effectively the guinea pigs for the grand plans to remove 1c and 2c coins from circulation.

However, business owners in the south east say they're not surprised the scheme is now being rolled out across the country and believe both they and their customers will welcome the move.

The trial began in September 2013 and ran until November of that year, following the lead of other EU countries that had implemented 'rounding'.

Paddy Reville, who has worked in the Green Corner fruit and vegetable shop in the town for the past 25 years, said he was supportive of the scheme.

"It did remove the smaller coins so we did support it when it was being trialled here, and I suppose customers supported it as well," he told the Irish Independent.

However, Paddy said that despite the statements from the Central Bank to the contrary, he did notice a reduction in donations to charity boxes at the store.

"There was a drop off alright. Customers, a lot of the time, if you were to hand them back a handful of change, they would say 'throw that in the box'. That did stop," he added.

Restaurant proprietor James O'Connor, who owns Green Acres in Selskar in the town, said his business no longer counted the 1c and 2c coins in the till and has effectively continued to implement the scheme despite it ending.

"They're a nuisance, so we just try and just use the 5c coins. My view is that if you are counting multiple tills and you have to count the 1c and 2c as well and get change from the bank because the bank charges for all the money, the costs involved is more trouble than it's worth" he said.

"Around 70pc of my transactions would be by credit card, with the other 30pc by cash, and at the end of the day, if someone is buying a meal for two with wine, one or two cent isn't going to represent a large part of the transaction.

"To take the 1c and 2c out of circulation, I don't think it is going to have a dramatic impact on anybody."

Equally supportive is pharmaceutical technician Aoife Curtis, who works in Sherwood's Pharmacy and said the trial was popular.

Asked if customers raised concerns that the scheme could be used to increase prices, Aoife said: "Everyone was happy to go with it. There was no hassle and no complaints.

"Of course the whole thing was voluntary, so people could get the correct change if they wanted, but I don't remember anyone asking for it at all throughout the whole trial," she said.

Irish Independent

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