C: Gript (L) / Pixabay (R)

‘Time for national conversation about cash’ says Tóibín as NCT reverses cashless decision

Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has said it’s “time for a national conversation about cash” – as the NCT this week backtracked on its controversial decision to go cashless.

On Tuesday morning, Junior Minister Jack Chambers confirmed that the national car testing service will no longer push ahead with plans to remove cash as a payment option.

NCT Ireland, which is run by Applus+, announced last week it had made the decision to only accept cashless payments based on “safety and convenience.” A social media post announcing the news sparked thousands of angry reactions, along with pushback from multiple politicians.

Junior Transport Minister Jack Chambers was among a number of politicians to hit out at the announcement, saying it had not been agreed, nor was it happening.

Meanwhile, Peadar Tóibín, leader of  Aontú – who has been behind a petition campaign to encourage the GAA to scrap its cashless ticket policy – said that it was welcome news that the NCT had “seen sense.” He now says there must be a wider conversation about the place of cash in Irish society.

“Aontú campaigned over the last week to get the NCT to reverse its decision about cash and we welcome the news that they have seen sense and will allow cash to be used to pay for the service,” Mr Tóibín said.

“The idea of saying that 350,000 people without bank accounts had to pay electronically for a service for which non-payment could land you in jail or with a massive fine is ridiculous.

“The NCT now joins the AIB and the GAA in reversing the decision for mandatory electronic transactions. The truth is the Minister of Finance needs to set policy in this area. We need to decide what role cash will have in the future in Ireland”.

The TD said that while electronic payments present an efficient payment choice for many people, allowing the option to pay in cash remains “the most inclusive” way to run a State service or business.

“Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly old, young or on low incomes do not have bank accounts. Many businesses do not have card machines. Many people do not have access to sufficient ICT skills, broadband or even mobile phone signals to carry out electronic transactions. We have a duty of care especially with older people so that they remain independent for as long as possible. Making them dependent on their children or neighbours just to transact with the world is wrong,” Mr Tóibín said.

He went on to point out that many people in the services industry rely on cash tips.

“Club fundraisers rely on cash for club lotteries. Charities, buskers, church gate collections will all suffer if the government allows the cash to be deleted in daily transactions.

“Having cash options available also reduces the danger of systemic electronic crises such as cyber-attacks on banks. ICT deficits in Banks have already caused major problems this year. My own town of Navan over the weekend suffered from an outage on card machines necessitating cash for transactions.”

The TD says he has written to the Cathaoirleach of the Finance Committee, Mr John McGuiness, to request a meeting of the Finance Committee on the future of Cash in Ireland.

A European Central Bank study conducted last year found that cash is still an important means of payment for Irish shoppers, with a majority – 54 per cent – of Irish consumers’ in-store transactions being made in cash in 2022, while 37 per cent were on card.

A further 6 per cent of Irish shoppers purchased goods and services in store via mobile apps includingApple or Google Pay while the remaining 3 per cent used other means, including cheques, loyalty points or vouchers, the study said.

However, cash use was down 14 points on 2019, and sat below the eurozone average of 59 per cent in 2022. A 2022 study conducted by ECB showed that Irish consumers are some of the most likely to shop online – with the share of online payments sitting at 21 per cent in Ireland last year, more than twice the eurozone average. This figure had also doubled since 2019, showing the growth of online shopping, with Ireland only second to Belgium in terms of making purchases online.

Opponents of cashless payment policies have argued they are discriminatory and driven by banking and government interests. In March, the Rural TD Independent Group put forward a motion which aims to pushback against attempts to go cashless. The motion seeks to ensure the government maintains the provision of cash services.

Share mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer mdi-chevron-left Prev Next mdi-chevron-right Related
Comments are closed

Do you agree with the Government's plan to reduce speed limits?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...