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The Central Bank is to commemorate the 1916 Rising by releasing a special €2 coin.

A total of 4.5 millions coins will be released in Ireland, which we will see coming into circulation in the next few weeks. 

Emmet Mullins designed the coin, which was picked out of 52 other designs from Irish and international designers.

The €2 will feature the statue of Hibernia on top of the GPO, the centenary dates and 'Hibernia' written in hand-rendered lettering, which is influenced by the Book of Kells. 

“The design reflects back to the GPO and its association with the Easter Rising and the reading of the Proclamation.

"We are working with the banks, An Post, and the cash in transit companies to get the coin into circulation as soon as possible," said Paul Molumby, the director of currency at the Central Bank. 

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Following in the footsteps of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, The Netherlands and Sweden, Ireland will next week begin phasing out its 1c and 2c coins.

The Central Bank’s Ronnie O’Toole said consumers and retailers have so far been supportive of the move.

"The reaction so far to Rounding has been fantastic. As a country we are good at making changes like this," he explained.

"We migrated to the euro ahead of most other countries, and the indications so far are that consumers and retailers alike will embrace rounding.”

It means that the 5c coin will be our smallest legal tender, with cash transactions from October 28 rounded up or down to the nearest 5c. The smaller coinage will, of course, remain legal – but the Central Bank hopes to gradually phase them out entirely.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has been eager for the policy to be put in place following a trial carried out in Wexford in 2013.

Afterwards, 85 percent of consumers and 100 percent of retailers there said they wanted the system rolled out nationally.

A 1c coin costs 1.65c to produce while 2c coins cost 1.94c. The Central Bank estimates it has spent at least €30m on minting the two coins since 2001.

Rounding will still operate on a voluntary basis and customers can always ask for the exact change they are entitled to.

Otherwise, a transaction costing €10.21 or €10.22 would be rounded to €10.20, while a transaction costing €10.28 or €10.29 would be rounded to €10.30. And a transaction costing €10.23, €10.24, €10.26, €10.27 would all be rounded either up or down to €10.25.

The Central Bank furthermore says there is currently €35.3m worth of 1c and 2c coins in Ireland – three times more than the average in other countries using the euro.

In Ireland, we also have a habit of hoarding copper coins in jars – an activity which ultimately proves costly.

Ronnie O'Toole told Morning Ireland on RTE Radio today: "We were producing them in huge numbers. Retailers were giving them to consumers; consumers were putting them in jam jars. Retailers were coming back to us and saying we need new 1c and 2c coins."

He went on to say that as a country we have produced around 2.5billion of the smaller coins since the launch of the euro: that's 1,500 for every household.

"People prefer not using them to actually using them and they have these stockpiled at home," he added.

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