Cash is 'here to stay', says McGrath at launch of consultation on payments

Cash Is 'Here To Stay', Says Mcgrath At Launch Of Consultation On Payments
The Minister for Finance said it was important not to ‘force change’ on people. Photo: PA Images
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Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Minister for Finance Michael McGrath has said “cash is here to stay” as he launched a public consultation looking for people’s views on a national payments strategy.

He said he was finalising the heads of a Bill that would enshrine people’s access to cash, which would involve defining an appropriate level of cash needed in communities.


He said this would include defining what obligation there was to provide people with access to cash, and deciding how far was “reasonable” to have to travel to access an ATM.

National Payments Strategy
Minister for Finance Michael McGrath said cash would continue to play ‘a significant role’ into the future (Niall Carson/PA)

“That does involve some difficult choices and decisions that have to be made,” he said.


Mr McGrath said it was a “real consideration” for him to address “the potential risk of financial exclusion”, and that he did not want to see less access to cash than there currently was.

“What is a fair and reasonable level of access to cash? It should certainly be no less than what we have now, and that’s a bottom line in respect of the availability that’s currently available, should certainly not be allowed to diminish and we’re examining what further steps we need to take to vindicate that.”

He also said it would involve the regulation of ATMs to ensure they were “stocked and that they’re properly maintained”.



Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he said that cash needed to remain in Ireland “because it forms an important part of the day-to-day life of many people across our country”.

“It’s important that we don’t force change on people and I recognise that change will continue.


“We will see increasing adoption of digital methods of payment, that’s normal, and there’s what do we need to do there in terms of security and making sure that such methods are accessible to everyone.

“Cash will continue to have a very significant role to play into the future. I think it is about time now that we legislated for that, we define what that right is and we set it out in the laws of the country.”

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