Fear of no-deal Brexit triggers Irish gold rush

Updated January 20, 2019

Email

DUBLIN: Seamus Fahy, co-founder of Merrion vaults, removes a safety deposit box from a wall of boxes in Merrion vaults.
DUBLIN: Seamus Fahy, co-founder of Merrion vaults, removes a safety deposit box from a wall of boxes in Merrion vaults.

DUBLIN: In a vault under the streets of Dublin a pot of gold owned by anxious investors is growing every day Britain edges closer to leaving the EU without a deal.

“They’re worried about a significant devaluation in sterling if there’s a hard Brexit,” said Seamus Fahy.

Fahy is co-founder of Merrion Vaults, a gold brokerage and safe deposit facility in the centre of the Irish capital.

Over 2018 — as the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU turned from a scare story into a very real prospect — he has seen a 70 per cent rise in clients from the British province of Northern Ireland.

“Customers are taking money — physical money — out of the bank and they’re buying gold bullion with us to store it, and it’s a hedge,” Fahy explained.

There is no equivalent facility in Northern Ireland.

With the border only an hour away it is no long trip to secure peace of mind as Britain risks a split with the EU critics are branding a “cliff-edge Brexit”.

Set in the basement of an unassuming grey office block, Merrion Vaults does not advertise its presence to passersby, marked only with a coy plaque reading “Merrion Private”.

Down an elevator, past a manned security booth and a fingerprint scanner — as well as a hefty metal safe door — is a caged vault, ranked with 3,000 double-locked deposit boxes.

Their full contents are known only to clients. But Fahy knows that inside many are glimmering stashes of gold.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2019