asked the Minister for Finance if Irish currency will now be acceptable as legal tender in Great Britain and other member states within the European Economic Community.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Acceptability of Irish Currency.
I assume that in referring to Irish currency the Deputy has in mind Irish currency notes and coin. There is nothing in the EEC Treaties or in the subordinate regulations or directives which would confer legal tender status on our currency notes or coin in other Community countries or on the currencies or coin of other Community countries in this country.
I would add that only Irish currency notes and coin have the status of legal tender in Ireland. The acceptance here of British and other foreign currency depends on custom. While the acceptance of Irish currency abroad is limited, it is growing and I look forward to its wider acceptance following Ireland's entry into the EEC and according as contacts with the other member countries increase.
Would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that in fact EEC membership has the effect of giving Irish currency a separate status in that it is quoted in its own right for the first time? This had begun to happen in anticipation of membership and would the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that in this respect it has had the paradoxical effect of giving us an independent currency with a separate quotation whereas previously we were linked totally to sterling?
This is correct and, as the Deputy knows, in the long-term the exchange rates will become fixed and non-changing. This is the aim of the monetary union in their current discussions. The time is not that far off when currencies will change freely from one Community member state to another.
The Parliamentary Secretary is very optimistic.
After last week, he has a right to be.