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Ballinrobe takes a punt on the punt

Ballinrobe takes a punt on the punt

Ciara Galvin

A novel idea adopted by the community of Clones, Co Monaghan, has hit the west, with Ballinrobe being the second reported town in Ireland to ‘embrace the punt’. Local businesses are encouraging people to dig out the old currency and use it to purchase goods and services in the town.
The campaign, which as of yet has no finishing date, was devised by Ballinrobe Business Enterprise Organisation (BEO).
Speaking about the initiative, BEO member Vincent Cummins explained how the idea was put in place. “Town traders and members of the organisation meet every month and we had talked about the successful revival of the punt in Clones earlier this year. So we said we’d go for it,” said Mr Cummins.
With an estimated IR£300 million still ‘outstanding’, according to Central Bank reports, it is hoped that the revival will result in an influx of people to the town from surrounding areas.
The exchange rate is €1.20 for every one pound note, so IR£5 is the equivalent of €6, and IR£20 is equal to €24.
The punt can be exchanged for goods and services throughout participating businesses, and change will be issued in the form of vouchers, which can be spent in that shop again.
“We are trying to get a universal voucher for the town, but at the moment each voucher can only be redeemed in the specific shop you use your punt in,” explained Vincent.
Mr Cummins believes that the campaign will also provide a valuable service to punt holders.
“People have to go to the Central Bank in Dublin to exchange their old currency, whereas now they can purchase things locally, and we will look after exchanging it.”
Mr Cummins commended businesses for their support in helping Ballinrobe BEO to set up the initiative, with over 40 businesses already signed up to the scheme.
“It doesn’t pose any additional cost to businesses, and we feel it is a great way to highlight and promote the town,” he said.
The plan seems to be working, with reports appearing in the national media yesterday after the campaign began at the weekend.