Wednesday, 29 January 1997
Dáil Éireann Debate
61. Mr. Davern asked the Minister for Finance the plans, if any, he has to hold information seminars nationwide on economic and monetary union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2435/97]
Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): In December last I launched a national information programme on economic and monetary union and the changeover to the euro with the Ministers for Enterprise and Employment and Tourism and Trade. The programme will be in phases, designed to correspond with the phases of the changeover and to provide information in a timely way: as the Deputy will be aware, economic and monetary union will begin on 1 January 1999, when the single currency, the euro, will come into being, but euro notes and coins will not be introduced until 1 January 2002 at the latest, with the changeover to the euro being completed within six months of their introduction.
The first phase of the national information programme will run to end 1997 and will focus mainly on provision of information to help businesses to prepare for the changeover. Forfás is running a business awareness campaign to this end, working closely with business and professional associations. An important feature of the business awareness campaign will be the compilation, from information supplied by organisations represented on the consultative committee for the campaign, of a calendar containing details of forthcoming economic and monetary union-related events such as information seminars. This  calendar will be regularly updated and will be supplied to businesses via their business and professional associations. The first such calendar is expected to be circulated shortly.
Forfás has also engaged consultants to study how businesses, especially SMEs, should best plan for economic and monetary union and the changeover to the euro. Their study is expected to be completed in March and following that, Forfás expects to hold some ten-15 information meetings in 1997, at which it would present the results of the study.
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