The Central Bank of Ireland is Ireland’s central bank, and as such part of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB). It is also the country’s financial services regulator for most categories of financial firms. It is the issuer of Irish pound banknotes and coinage until the introduction of the euro currency, and now provides this service for the European Central Bank.
The Central Bank, however, does not initially acquire many of the characteristics of a central bank:
- It is not given custody of the cash reserves of the commercial banks
- It has no statutory power to restrict credit, though it can promote it
- The Bank of Ireland remains the government’s banker
- The conditions for influencing credit through open-market operations does not yet exist
- Ireland’s external monetary reserves are largely held as external assets of the commercial banks
The mid-1960s see the Bank take over the normal day-to-day operations of exchange control from the Department of Finance. The Central Bank broadens its activities over the decades, but it remains in effect a currency board until the 1970s.
Since January 1, 1972 the Central Bank has been the banker of the Government of Ireland in accordance with the Central Bank Act 1971, which can be seen in legislative terms as completing the long transition from a currency board to a fully functional central bank.
Its head office is located on Dame Street, Dublin, where the public may exchange non-current Irish coinage and currency, both pre- and post-decimalization, for euros. It also operates from premises in Spencer Dock, Iveagh Court, and College Green. The Currency Centre at Sandyford is the currency manufacture, warehouse, and distribution site of the bank.
By March 2017 its city centre staff will move to a new building at North Wall Quay.