WHAT is 'IEP (Irish Pound)'

IEP was the the currency abbreviation, or currency symbol, for the Irish pound, the currency of Ireland until 2002. The Irish pound comprised 100 pennies, called pingin in Irish, and often appeared by the symbol £ or IR£ to set it apart from other currencies based in pounds. The Irish term for the Irish pound is the punt Éireannach.


IEP dates back to the first millennium C.E., but following the Act of Union, which joined Ireland and Great Britain into one kingdom, this early Irish pound was assimilated into the British Pound.

After the Irish Free State formed in 1922, trade with the U.K. continued to dominate the Irish economy, so the government did not make it a priority to establish a new currency. It wasn’t until 1927 that the Irish government began issuing the Irish pound, which was pegged to British sterling at parity, and of which the government promised full convertibility to sterling.

For more than a decade, the Irish government managed its currency through a currency board, and it was not until 1942 that the legislature passed a law establishing the Central Bank of Ireland. Even after establishing the new monetary authority, Ireland retained the peg of its pound to sterling, even after Ireland departed from the Commonwealth and declared a Republic in 1948, and after sterling was devalued within the Bretton Woods system in 1949, and again in 1967.

The 1970s were a decade of monetary reform in Ireland, first with the decimalization of the Irish pound and then with the Central Bank Act of 1971, which delegated new powers to the monetary authority and ultimately led to Ireland’s participation in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1978. In 1979, the formal link with the British Pound was broken.

Ireland’s Adoption of the Euro

Momentum for the creation of a single, pan-European currency began to gather in 1986, with signing of the Single European Act, which set the stage for a market without frontiers. A logical complement to this borderless market would be a single, unifying currency.

Ireland was was one of the first countries to adopt the euro on the first of January, 1999. At that point, the value of the Irish pound was fixed to the euro at the rate of to 0.787564 Irish pound. For three years, the euro existed as a virtual currency for bookkeeping purposes, but it wasn’t until the first of January 2002 that euro banknotes and coins were introduced in Ireland.

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