Irish "raid their piggy banks" during recession

It's official: Irish people raided their piggy banks as they were hit by some of the toughest austerity measures and the longest recession in Europe.

The central bank issued less than half the number of coins last year than in 2008 and actually took €23 million worth of coins out of circulation in 2009, because of extra supply from coin jars at home, new data showed.

The central bank said in its annual report that the lower demand for coins "may reflect a reduction in hoarding of such coins as economic activity weakened". Demand also fell as shops and pubs processed fewer cash transactions in the recession.

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