Banking plea over hoarded coppers
Banking chiefs are urging savers to empty their piggy banks this Christmas because of a shortage of coppers in circulation.
Ireland is minting three times as many one cent and two cent coins as other European countries because so many are being stashed away in money jars around the country.
Because shops still need the small denomination currency, the Central Bank has to keep issuing them and has distributed almost 2.5 billion of the copper coins to date.
Now, it is warning it may not be able to keep up with demand.
"Lots of people keep copper coins in jars and piggy banks around the house," a Central Bank spokesman said. "There is 35.3 million euro worth of one cent and two cent coins. This is better being spent or given to charity.
"We urge people to use this time of the year to de-clutter, by either giving these coins to charity or spending them. With Christmas approaching now might be a good time to use those stray coins by giving them to a charity of your choice."
The Central Bank said if the current trend continues of people storing away one cent and two cent coins "it will be difficult to keep up with the demand".
By the end of October, the bank had issued 1,382,176,429 one cent coins and 1,072,289,522 two cent coins.
The cost of making a coin is more than their actual face value, with a one cent coin costing around 1.7 cent to mint.
Although they are referred to as copper coins, they are in fact copper-coated steel.