The Deputy will be aware that the Department of Justice recently published the Counterfeiting Bill 2020. It should be noted that this Bill is being introduced in order to transpose an EU Directive, it is not a legislative response to a problem that has emerged in the Irish market.
Euro banknotes are produced using sophisticated printing technology and have a number of prominent security features, which make them easy to distinguish from counterfeits without using special equipment. These features act as a deterrent to counterfeiters.
All Member States of the Eurosystem have a responsibility to support the identification and removal of counterfeit banknotes from circulation. The Central Bank of Ireland provides training to professional cash handlers, members of An Garda Síochána, customs officials and other bodies on counterfeit detection. The Central Bank of Ireland ensures that professional cash handlers, as defined under Article 6 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1338/2001, remove suspect counterfeit banknotes from circulation and submit them to the Central Bank for analysis. The Central Bank analyses these items and reports them to the European Central Bank (ECB) and European police forces using Counterfeit Monitoring Systems.
Recently published ECB statistics found that banknote counterfeiting is at an historical low level. Some 460,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in 2020, a decrease of 17.7% when compared with 2019. The €20 and €50 notes continued to be the most counterfeited banknotes, jointly accounting for about two thirds of the total. 94.5% of counterfeits were found in euro area countries, while 2.8% were found in non-euro area EU Member States and 2.7% in other parts of the world.
The likelihood of receiving a counterfeit is very small, as the number of counterfeits remains very low compared to the over 25 billion euro banknotes in circulation. In 2020, 17 counterfeits were detected per 1 million genuine banknotes in circulation.
The full ECB Press Release on counterfeiting can be found here: https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/2021/html/ecb.pr210122~5b82ddc7b9.en.html