Soviet shilling project could be a trial run for local currency

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Ciaran Nash limerick soviet limerick post newspaper
Ciaran Nash

SHILLINGS printed during the Limerick Soviet in 1919 and replicated in print until the end of this month could act as a trial run for a local currency.

That’s according to Ciaran Nash who created an art project in the form of a temporary system of exchange based on the currency that was issued by the workers of Limerick protesting against the imposition of martial law by the British army.

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Ciaran and his team designed the shillings with local artists creating unique designs for the one, five and ten shillings notes. Packs of 20 shillings can be purchased for €30 and have one shilling for one euro value at participating businesses.

Working out of Wickham Street Studios, Ciaran is exploring the language of protest movements and the history of civil disobedience. When he was asked by the Limerick Soviet Centenary committee about what contribution he would like to make to the commemorations, he volunteered to replicate the Soviet shillings.

Ciaran, who is a graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) said that “this is in commemoration of the Limerick Soviet shilling that the strikers printed in 1919 because they ran out of sterling at the time.

“But also they took control of their financial situation which we are trying to echo. It also is an act of solidarity and defiance against financial capitalism and its ravaging of everything from housing to healthcare.”

Explaining the message behind the currency trial run, Ciaran said that “for me, that is the theme – about taking back control – but for others, many different people are getting many different things out of it.

“This also looks at the power and influence that money has but the amazing thing for me to see would be to see the shillings perform in Limerick and to see people exchange shillings for coffee or bread.

While the shillings are valid for exchange until May 1 at participating businesses, Ciaran said that they do expire but “essentially you could see it as a trial run for a local currency.

“It’s a tiny experiment in that kind of direction like the Bristol pound or the Totnes pound,” he explained.

Details of the Limerick Soviet shilling project can be found on www.saiocht.ie