Dáil Éireann - Volume 542 - 24 October, 2001

Written Answers. - Euro Changeover.

113. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Finance the total anticipated cost to the Exchequer of the changeover to the euro at the latest date for which figures are available; if he has satisfied himself with the level of public awareness of the changeover; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25350/01]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): From estimates supplied to my Department in respect of Departments and relevant bodies, the cost to the Exchequer of the changeover to the euro is estimated to be of the order of £100 million, 127 million. Changeover costs are of course one-off, whereas economic and monetary union confers ongoing benefits.

I am satisfied that the basic facts about the euro are now widely known, thanks to the extensive public information activities undertaken to date. A national survey of public awareness of the euro was conducted in July 2001 on behalf of the Euro Changeover Board of Ireland. The results showed that 87% of people know that euro cash will arrive on 1 January 2002, and 84% know that [1633] the euro is made up of cents. A total of 79% know what a pound is worth in euros and 46% are generally aware of the length of the dual circulation period. The survey also revealed that people now want to know how the changeover will work, how to convert and what euro cash will look like.

Since July the ECBI has intensified its public information campaign and is currently distributing a 24-page colour handbook on the euro changeover to every household in the country. The handbook explains what the euro is, what it is worth and how to get ready for it, how the changeover to euro cash will work, what we can all do to help the changeover, what euro notes and coins will look like and what the key organisations will do for the changeover.

The handbook also explains how to convert from Irish pounds to euro and from euro to Irish pounds, shows conversion tables for standard amounts and gives contact points for further information. In addition to the handbook, the board is distributing over half a million information items a month otherwise and is running an extensive advertising campaign. Finally, the board aims to distribute an electronic converter to every household in November.

Question No. 114 answered with Question No. 85.