Dublin has become the first capital city in Europe to have its own city centre gift card. The Dublin-branded cards, which are blue in colour, feature the iconic Ha'penny Bridge and can be used in any shop, cafe or restaurant in the centre that accepts Mastercard.

Dublin businesses are in the throes of the worst recession in decades and this Christmas may prove critical for their future. Many shops have reacted to the economic downturn by reducing prices by up to 20 per cent. Card organisers have said the cards are convenient for shoppers, especially children, as it means they are not carrying quantities of cash on their person.

The cards can be bought at Ticketmaster kiosks in St Stephen's Green and Jervis shopping centres and at a booth in the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre. They are available for amounts between