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Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 14 May 1969

Vol. 240 No. 8

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - New Coinage.


asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware of the dissatisfaction with and criticism of the new coinage; and if he will hold up minting until experts have been consulted in relation to the views expressed.

Published comment on the designs for the decimal coins has been fairly limited in extent and has shown a normal variety of individual viewpoints. I think that the designs have met with general approval from the public and I see no reason for consultations as suggested by the Deputy.

Is it not a fact that the Minister himself has said that the design of the coinage we are to have came about almost by accident, and that they were marvellous?

I think they are marvellous.

In fact all the comment that was published was poor comment. Is it not also a fact that before we had the Arts Council or the Kilkenny Design Centre, in 1928 when the design of the present coinage was being settled, a special committee was set up to consider it and submit their views to the Minister? Why was not that procedure followed on this occasion?

I cannot understand why the Minister has not a horse on one of them.

I greatly regret that.

A horse and an Irish wolfhound.

I find the design aesthetically satisfying and that is all there is to it.

Does the Minister think that he has the last word so far as design is concerned and that his decision is final?

It was not my decision at all. It was a Central Bank decision.

Surely the Minister has something to do with the decision?

I think the position is that the Government and I could have overruled the Central Bank if we so wished, but we did not wish. We agreed fully with their decision.

Did the Central Bank consult the Minister before taking the decision?

Yes, and they had their own consultations.

So the final responsibility lies with the Minister?

Yes, and I accept full responsibility.

We now have no Irish wolfhound or horse on them and the Kilkenny Design Centre and the Arts Council were not consulted even though those two bodies are in existence.

I am sure that, if the Deputy will consider it calmly and objectively, he will come to the conclusion that the designs we have are, as I described them, marvellous, and that the changes we have had to make in dropping the horse and some of the other existing designs were inevitable.

That is not what An Comhairle Ealaíon have to say.