Trading of the Euro the new single currency for Europe starts as a new computer system for central banks goes live.

The Euro, Europe's single currency got off to a strong start rising in value against both Sterling and the US Dollar before easing back later in the day.

Staff arrived early for work at the Central Bank in Dublin as the moment they had been working towards was about to become a reality. 

At 6 am Irish time, the new computer systems of fifteen central banks across Europe kicked into action and the Euro became an active currency.

Pam Lennon of the Central Bank in Dublin is pleased to see the computer system go live and working properly. 

Until now, transactions between banks around Europe involved complicated currency conversions. The Euro will simplify and speed up the process of doing business around Europe. 

For Patrick Treanor of the Central Bank, this is a very significant event in the world of national and international finance.

When trading began on the Irish Stock Exchange at 9.30am, the Euro had replaced the Irish pound. 

The first official international trading in the Euro got underway in Australia and the Far East making a strong debut rising against the Dollar and the Yen, before falling back slightly in cautious trading.

Philip Hamell of the Irish Stock Exchange explains that from now on all trading prices will be quoted in Euro. 

While trading in Euro has begun, we won't be in circulation until 2002. The Euro symbol will now begin to appear on bills and documentation to give people time to get used to it.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 4 January 1999. The reporter is Deirdre McCarthy.