The Rural Independent Group has brought forward a motion to protect cash as a legal tender in Ireland.
According to Independent TD, Danny Healy-Rae, the motion calls on the government to lead by example and insist that it is a requirement that all public bodies accept or facilitate the acceptance of cash for payment of goods, services, taxes, levies, fees and charges.
Speaking on behalf of the group of TDs in Dáil Éireann earlier today (Wednesday, March 8th, 2023), the deputy said:
“Since Covid-19, we have sleepwalked into this situation where many places continue to demand cashless payments.”
“The government must make a definite order. Deputy Michael Collins mentioned restaurants.”
“What about the young boys and girls working in restaurants on a part-time basis and maybe for the minimum wage? They always depend on getting tips.”
“If payments are to be cashless, the client or the customer will pay with a card, but they will not have cash in their pockets to give a tip to the young person who is working part-time and depends on tips. This is a very important aspect of it.”
“We are asking the government to make an order that it is a legal requirement for everyone to accept by cash. It cannot be just some people.”
“This includes government offices and departments which, in many instances, look for payment online or whatever and will send out the goods to people then. This is not fair on ordinary people.”
The deputy told the house that he has been reliably informed that when people go abroad, they have to pay by card in “most places”.
However, between the conversion rate and additional charges for utilising cards, he continued, “people do not know what is left in their accounts because the banks or the financial institutions do not update their accounts promptly”.
“People are struggling at the end of their visit and do not have enough funds to continue. Those things are very important.”
“What about old people who may not be able to travel themselves, and when they want someone to bring them a product from the chemist or whatever, they give them cash? How will a card work in that situation?”
“In many parts of rural Ireland, people do not have access to the internet or computers. What will happen when there is a power outage? We have to think of these things.”
The deputy told the house there is no point in agreeing with the motion; the government must act.
On foot of this, he appealed to the government “in strong terms” for the group’s request to be adhered to “because this is very serious”.
“We are going down the wrong road if we are going to allow a cashless situation to arise because it is just not fair on ordinary people,” he concluded.