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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 16:24 GMT
Ireland eases into euros
Boots till
Tills in many shops will dsiplay prices in 'new' and 'old' money
The introduction of the euro would certainly make an interesting case study for an investigation into human nature.

While the new currency has bean a topic of hot debate in the UK, where it is not (yet) being adopted, it seems many of the Euro land citizens are at best blasŤ about the subject, and at worst dead bored of it.

That is not to say they are taking the euro's launch lightly.

In the Republic of Ireland they have been planning for the change for over for three years and, this year alone, the government spent about six million Irish pounds (£4.74m) on euro advertising and education

John Norris, whose job it is to introduce the euro to the Irish public says: "Nobody likes change and this is a big change. I think that people are accepting it with a degree of resignation."

Change over

Ireland, along with the rest of the euro zone, will change to the new currency on 1January 2002.

From that day onward pay packets, savings, pensions and prices will convert to euros.

The pound (or punt if you like) will remain legal tender for a period of five weeks: after that stores no longer have to accept the old currency, though the public can still exchange it for euros at banks.

Mr Norris says: "After just two weeks we expect it (the pound) to be gone completely. There will be only straggling amounts left in circulation."

Easier than decimalisation

Research by the Irish government suggests that retirees will have the most trouble coming to terms with the new currency.

But Working Lunch spoke to a group of retired airline workers who seemed to be taking it in their stride.

Jim Collier said: "We were around during decimalisation and it worked very well. People had fears about it but I think after a few weeks they were accustomed to it.

"I think it will be easier this time."

Another retiree, Jim Davidson, says: "It's a matter of a couple of weeks (until the euro is introduced), but nobody seems to be talking about it."

Humdrum on the high street

On the high street, concerns seem to be just as muted.

Boots, one of many British owned businesses that trade in Ireland, has spent three years and £40m getting its stores ready to handle the changeover.

Its tills will display prices in euros from January 1, but will also convert all prices to Irish pounds if customers want to know how much they are paying in 'old' money.

As Boots customer Andreas Lehner says: "At the end of the day it is really just a name change."

Try selling that to Britain's save the pound campaigners.

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