By John Kelly
As one who recalls Ireland’s changeover from pounds, shillings and pence to just pounds and pence, which is not to mention the more recent break with sterling and the transformation of pounds to punts, I will never forget the sheer horror of it all. I was a university student then, highly sensitive to seemingly minuscule fluctuations in my very limited consumer economy. The prices of such vital commodities as cigarettes, pints, movies, dances, yes, even books, however grudgingly acquired, shot up almost overnight.
In a country where newspaper headlines screamed with shock at the prospect of an old penny increase in the price of the national beverage brewed in James Gate, nobody seemed to notice that the increases were now in terms of five pence, the equivalent of an old penny, which was, in turn, equal to 12 old pence.