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Friday, 13 April, 2001, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Ireland awaits euro price 'rises'
Dublin's retailers are looking for ways to help customers
By Louise Williams in Dublin

Ireland is the only European country where the euro - set to be introduced in January - is worth less than the national currency unit, the Irish pound, or punt.

People will feel they have been shortchanged, getting cents instead of pennies and fewer of them

Betty, market seller
This means that prices in Ireland will seem to rise - a pint of Guinness, for example, will cost around 3 euros instead of 2.50.

At Moore street market, Dublin's oldest food market, it will mean a major culture shock.

"We usually roar bananas, oranges, 10 for a pound, but next year it'll be funny to say 10 oranges for a euro," says Betty who runs a stall at Moore Street.

Fear and ignorance

A pint of Guinness will seem more expensive
"Now we laugh about that, but that's going to be fact, has to be done. People will feel they have been shortchanged, getting cents instead and fewer of them. It's going to take time," she says.

Among shoppers there is quite a bit of ignorance and a bit of fear about the future, when they will have the euro instead of the Irish pound in their purses.

But Bernie, who has a sweet stall, has a strategy to make things easy for her customers.

She is going to have to replace her famous bargain - four bars of chocolate for a pound.

Confusing cents

euro notes
A big change - for the pocket and the wallet
"I think the best transaction to get people used to euro is to sell three bars for a euro. To stick to the basics instead of going into the cents, because I think that's what will mix people up," she says.

One of the slogans used by the Irish Government in its campaign to introduce the euro here is: "The euro - the change is in your pocket."

But with prices seeming to go up with the changeover from pound to euro, it is likely that many customers are going to be feeling they have less change rather than more.

Are you ready for the euro? Write to us with your questions - Europe Today will ask an expert to answer a selection of them next week.


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Europe Today is the World Service's specialist programme for European news - about Europe, from Europe. It's on air at 1600 GMT (1800 CET) from Monday to Friday, on 648 KHz (and on FM in many European cities - check our website for frequencies).

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European Central Bank
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