Irish gold broker sees jump in demand over hard Brexit fears

A leading gold broker and vault operator in Ireland has seen a huge rise in the number of people from Northern Ireland rushing to buy gold over fears of a collapse in sterling after Brexit.

Merrion Vaults in Dublin said the influx of customers from Northern Ireland has grown by some 70% over the last five months.

People are spending between £5,000 and £15,000 of their savings and buying gold bullion which is stored in a safe deposit box to help protect their money.

Seamus Fahy, the company’s co-founder, said customers are concerned the value of sterling will substantially weaken if there is a hard Brexit.

“We could probably see sterling weaken even further if there is a hard Brexit and that’s what customers are worried about, so they are buying that gold bullion and hedging themselves against a further weakening,” he said.

“There is, however still a element of doubt in the financial market that will actually happen.

“The average spend is somewhere between £5,000 and £15,000. It’s an older demographic, so people between 35 and 40 and over.

“They may have small businesses or looking to buy a holiday home and they are worried about the sterling being a lot less in six months, and buying gold bullion is a very good way of protecting against devaluation.

“There are others that are worried that if there is a hard Brexit and if the economy weakens substantially in the UK, there could be bank bail-in, similar to that seen in Greece and Cyprus.

“Some people are paranoid and fearing the worst.”

The firm is also opening a safe deposit box facility in central Belfast early next year which will be the first in Northern Ireland.

Second referendum campaigner and MP Owen Smith, from the anti-Brexit group Best for Britain, responded to the increase in demand: “No-one voted to be poorer, but that’s literally what is going to happen if Brexit crashes the pound.

“It’s reckless that government policy is to weaken our economy. That’s not in our national interest.

“This decision needs to be handed over to the people for a final say on the deal, with the option to stay and lead in Europe.”

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