Kerryman who led Central Bank during euro currency transition dies

Former Governor of the Central Bank, Maurice O’Connell, who was from North Kerry, has died.

Mr O’Connell from Moyvane was governor from 1994 until his retirement in 2002, and was in charge when the euro replaced the punt as this country’s currency.

Maurice O’Connell was born in 1936 and educated at St Michael’s College, Listowel and St Brendan’s College, Killarney.

After university, he began his career as a secondary school teacher before joining the Department of Finance in 1962.

He was one of the principal defenders of the Irish pound during the currency devaluation crisis in 1992 and 1993.

In 1994, he was appointed Governor of the Central Bank.

He was due to retire in 2001 but in an unprecedented move, the government decided to extend his term of office because of his unique knowledge of the euro and Ireland’s entry to the single currency.

Department of Finance officials were anxious that Mr O’Connell oversee the introduction of the euro in January 2002.

He retired in March that year.

The funeral Mass of Maurice O’Connell will take place in Dublin on Friday morning.