Design is about problem solving and as a designer I have to be proactive about solving problems.

Undoubtedly the biggest problem currently facing Irish society is the economic crisis and the effect that is having on the wider European economy.

I believe Ireland and Europe are at a crossroads. Many newspapers and radio interviews are currently discussing what may or may not happen in Europe, and, more importantly, how will that impact on Ireland?

One possibility is that Ireland would leave the single currency either by choice or otherwise.

That opened a number of thoughts and questions in my mind:

  1. If we are seeking to leave the Euro, we would need to plan the exit strategy now
  2. What would that currency look like?
  3. Who would feature on the new currency?

Being a designer, the first two questions were solved very quickly, because that’s what we do.

The third question required a little more considered thought.

Most printed, or ‘paper’ currency usually features important figures from history, such as artists, writers, poets…. even heros, leaders and patriots. And that lead me to this visual conclusion. An Punt Nua should honour those Irish patriots that helped our country, once again stand proud amongst fiscal nations with her own independent currency.

I considered many people, including Kevin Cardiff, Secretary General of the Department of Finance, former Financial Regulator,  Patrick Neary, Michael Fingleton, former chief executive of Irish Nationwide Building Society and even the late Charles J. Haughey.

I narrowed the list down to the following:
Bertie Ahern
Brian Lenihan
Charlie McCreevy
Brian Cowen
David Drumm
Sean Fitzpatrick

I decided upon former Taoiseach and Minister for Finance Patrick Bartholomew (Bertie) Ahern for his outstanding work as leader of the Irish people in the latter stages of the Celtic Tiger era. I thought long and hard about putting Mr Ahern on a larger denomination note, because I do think he is worth it, however I settled on the £1 Punt Nua note as there will be more of these in circulation that larger notes and with this commonality of note I felt it was more fitting for a common person.

The £5 Punt Nua note features the late Brian Lenihan, Jnr, former Minister for Finance and TD for Dublin West. Minister Lenihan oversaw the introduction of the Bank Guarantee Scheme in 2008 that saw the Irish tax payer foot the bill for the follies of the unregulated financial institutions that have held the citizens of Ireland to randsom for generations to come, while their CEO’s enjoy inflated pay packets and bonuses.

Moving up to the £10 Punt Nua note I have shown a proud Charlie McCreevy, former Minister for Finance and EU Commissioner for Ireland. Mr. McCreevey in is numerous give away budgets helped secure Ireland’s future status within Europe, with encouraging a banking sector to recklessly lend and which initially led to a bubble in the housing sector, and then it’s crash. Many thanks.

Former Taoiseach and Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen features heavily (if you excuse the pun) on the £20 Punt Nua note. Mr. Cowen was at the helm of leadership in Fianna Fail and leader of Ireland when representatives of the IMF and ECB came to take away our Children’s futures. Mr. Cowen had the resolve and strength to protected the Irish people from the knowledge of the visit of the Deputy Director of the IMF’s European Department, Ajai Chopra and the agreement that his Government were doing to ensure our fate. As they say “The Nile is a river in Egypt”.

I reserved the most exclusive notes of An Punt Nua for the two people I believe are most patriotic of all the esteemed members of Irish society. Mr. David Drumm, former chief executive of Anglo Irish Bank who appears on the £50 Pun Nua and former Chairman, Mr. Sean Fitzpatrick who appears on the £100 Punt Nua.

Both Mr. Drumm and Mr. Fitzpatrick are, in my opinion, who we should be most thankful for in Ireland arriving at the point where we currently are. By telling us that they had money, meant we were all secure in the knowledge that we all had money. Who need audited accounts and balanced books, when we can all merrily carry on with not a worry in the world. But most of all, leaving Ireland at this time of crisis so, we the people, are not disheartened by the look of disappointment and shame on the faces of Mr. Drumm and Mr. Fitzpatrick.

Thanks lads, and on behalf of my future grand children, many, many thanks.

Featured on RTE’s The Saturday Show

Interview on RTE’s The Daily Show

Interview on RTE Radio’s Liveline with Joe Duffy

Featured on Tonight with Vincent Browne

Featured on Finnish TV Station YLE

Original TwitPic post >>
Irish Independent article on proposed An Punt Nua design >>
WorldIrish features An Punt Nua design >>
98FM on An Punt Nua >> “fancy a Butchers at our new currency” >>

The Carlow People >>
The American >>
Article on Forbes.Com >>
Come Here to Me Blog>>
Inside Ireland >>
RTE Radio 1 Liveline >>
Stone and Strom Investment Management >>
Irish Echo in Sydney Australia >>

Punt Nua in Sydney’s Irish Echo

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