‘Decision to close the print work would be a mistake’

by Mary Kate Hickey
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The Central Bank of Ireland could soon cease to print euro banknotes in Sandyford.

It is after a decision by management to recommend an orderly wind down of the print works facility to the Central Bank Commission following the publication of the Print Works Strategic Review (PWSR).

SIPTU representatives have called on the Central Bank to consider its position before taking a decision.

In a statement given to Dublin Gazette, the union’s Services Divisional Organiser, Karan O’Loughlin, said the Central Bank recommendation to close the print works is a “strategically flawed decision” and one that is totally rejected by their members.

She said: “This facility is a national strategic asset and for a country like Ireland to lose the capacity to print our own money into the future could have serious consequences.

“The uncertainty created by Brexit and the rise of right wing politics’ in many parts of Europe, and the associated anti-European Union sentiment means that the environment continues to be very uncertain across the Euro zone.

“While it is clear that Ireland remains committed to the euro as a currency, the same cannot be said for all of the members states currently engaged in monetary union. Should the unthinkable happen and the Euro currency was to cease, the skills and technical knowledge required for Ireland to print its own currency will be essential.

“Unfortunately, once the Sandyford print works facility is lost these skills will be difficult to recover.”

Forty-five staff members would be impacted if the commission takes the decision to cease printing.

A spokesperson from Central Bank told Dublin Gazette that “the proposal from management involves sourcing the banknotes from within the Eurozone and ceasing the printing of banknotes at the Central Bank’s Currency Centre. This proposal is in line with the approach taken in many other national central banks in the Eurozone.

“This proposed change will have no impact on the supply of banknotes in Ireland, the majority of which are produced elsewhere. All other currency related operation at Sandyford Currency Centre would continue as normal.”

They said the staff and their representatives are fully aware of the proposal.
“If the Commission take the decision to cease printing, a total of 45 staff (of the 170 staff in the Central Bank’s currency centre) will be impacted. The staff and their representatives are fully aware of the proposal.

“The Central Bank does not intend to seek compulsory redundancies and is committed to redeployment and retraining opportunities for impacted staff. A voluntary severance package will also be made available to those staff.

“If a decision is taken to cease printing, the Central Bank is committed to engagement with staff representative bodies through the normal industrial relations channels on the implications for impacted staff.”

SIPTU sector organiser for the Arts, Culture and Media Sector, Denis Hynes, said: “The fact that the Central Bank is committed to ensuring that there are no involuntary redundancies does not change the view of staff that a decision to close the print work would be a serious strategic mistake.”

He added: “It is worth noting, that the PWSR was purely a management exercise. Staff were not involved in drafting the terms of reference and the appointments to the review body were exclusively made by management.

“When the staff were invited to participate they were excluded from the process after four meetings and the process continued without them. In fact, neither the staff nor union representatives have ever had sight of the actual review. This is unacceptable.”

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