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Irish Economists Fear Slump Following 'Mattress Money' Boost

by Caroline Maxwell, Tax-News.com, London

19 December 2001


It was announced recently that in the run-up to the introduction of the euro, the re-emergence of 'mattress money' hoarded for tax evasion purposes looks set to provide a much needed fillip to the Irish economy. However, analysts have warned that following the pre-Christmas spending frenzy, there may be an equally marked hangover period.

'It's going to be a record Christmas, with huge consumer spending,' confirmed Jim Power, investment director at Friends First. 'There is a feeling of 'one last fling before the euro,' even by people who do not have any 'mattress money'. But once the money is spent, and in an environment of increasing job uncertainty in the early part of next year, there could be a big economic hangover in February and March.'

Meanwhile, as if retailers don't have enough to deal with in the final couple of weeks before the eurozone changeover, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation has warned that counterfeiters are increasingly bringing their own 'mattress' money into circulation in an attempt to dispose of it.

'We are asking retailers to be vigilant about this and to check their Irish punts,' explained Detective Inspector Dave Dowling, on behalf of the Bureau. 'Most of the counterfeits don't have a watermark, the paper is poor quality and the silver foil thread is glued on instead of being interwoven into the note.'


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