Irish Banks to Pay Cost of Army Escorts

Irish banks will pay the full costs of an Army escort for cash deliveries, under a deal secured by Irish Defence Minister Willie O’Dea last night expected to save taxpayers at least €3 million (the Irish Times, subs req, gets it right that there is no ceiling on the savings).

What seems remarkable about this story are two things – that under the previous regime, the Republic’s highly profitable banks were getting a security subsidy of 58 percent of the costs; and we wonder if the Army’s costs will include catering, so the security van drivers don’t have to stop for coffee.From the Irish Times:

Mr O’Dea said that under the new arrangement the banks will be billed at the end of each year for every single cash escort provided by the Army.

“In any given month at least 1,600 Army man-days are spent on providing cash escorts.

“In 2003 – most recent full year figures available – the Army protected 2,335 escorts. Around 80 per cent of these covered deliveries to banks . The other 20 per cent were to post offices,” Mr O’Dea said last night.

Responses to raids on vulnerable cash deliveries, multiplied since the proliferation of ATM machines, had prompted some responses from industry and government.

But now the question will be – will the banks try to scrimp on the security bill? And will anybody reading this in the bank robbing business see this news as a threat or opportunity?