As the punt has achieved equivalence with the pound sterling, it is common in border towns like Enniskillin to see signs "1 punt = £1", which on enquiry means Irish punts can be spent freely without the need for and the costs of exchanging the currency.
Coupled with an evident relaxation by customs staff on both sides of the border and the ability to use remote cross-border routes more freely, those in the south enjoy lower prices, and escape higher sales taxes. In the north, retail trade is boosted, resulting in a more buoyant economy and presumably increased employment.
For a regular visitor, the speed is dramatic, especially in the last three months, with the dismantling of irritating security measures at the airports, shops, hotels, etc. This has resulted in a 90 per cent increase in visitors to the north and it is evident that this is a trend which will continue.
These signs of cross-border benefits are the welcome results of the unusual sight of politicians talking to each other and listening both to each other and the public - long may it continue.
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