Monday 30 July 2012

THE DIRTY DOZEN w/e Aug 5th 2012

A big weekend coming up for us in the Ballyhea/Charleville bondholder bailout protest, our 75th week of protest. We'd like to make it a bit of an event so if anyone out there feels like joining us, this is the time. It's in Charleville this week, meeting at the Library Plaza in the centre of town (formerly the Protestant church) at 11.30am, all done and dusted by noon.

We will be joined this week by an old friend of the campaign, Constantin Gurdgiev, along with Stephen Donnelly, the independent Wicklow TD, who has also volunteered his time afterwards to give a short talk/answer questions - this will probably be at the Park Hotel, on the outskirts of town.

No change in the dirty dozen this week but have a look at what's coming, have a look particularly at October 1st, a nice round billion euro of unsecured bond from AIB. Ye might have read that this bank isn't doing very well lately - quelle surprise, given that it has already paid out €5.9bn in bonds this year, still has that billion-euro-bond to come. It's not all our money of course, we own only 99.8% of AIB...

Monday 23 July 2012

THE DIRTY DOZEN w/e July 29th 2012

For many months now we've been hearing that the bank bonds are a dead issue, all paid, no longer relevant. Today, along with publishing the next 12 bonds due, I'm adding a number of extra smaller tables, summary tables and I'm asking any economist out there to look at the numbers then please explain to me, to all of us, how in heaven's name this economy is going to grow its way out of this mess.

Even as the Irish economy is on its deathbed, comatose, our lifeblood is still being sucked from us. Do ye know that our banks paid out over €1bn in bonds last week? They did. Do ye know that in the next 12 bonds there's a total of over €1bn in unsecured unguaranteed bonds? There is. 

Ye DO know that all of that money is generated in this economy? Ye DO know that our banks (and they are our banks - we own outright five of the six banks, have a 15.1% share in Bank of Ireland) are selling off property assets at the moment to meet their growing commitments?

Paired with the money being stolen from our economy in this way is the growing national debt and the growing interest thereon. Partnered with it also, the annual Promissory Notes, plus the government's own sovereign bonds maturing in the coming years, plus the repayments of the EU/ECB 'bailout' funds which starts in 2015.

Downstairs from here I have all the relevant tables; don't be put off, they're simple, straightforward, very easy to follow and to understand. Read especially the final table, the final totals for the coming three years. Every year, before a single Minister, Judge or Consultant (my answer to their teacher/nurse/guard trio) collects their inflated salary, our ailing economy will have to produce that money - €41bn in 2013, €28bn in 2014, €32bn in 2015. How? Growth, on a land where the topsoil is being stripped?

Dammit my friends, we must fight back; as a nation we must stand up and fight for ourselves. 73 weeks we've been marching in Ballyhea and Charleville; week 75 is on Aug 5th and we want to make it a national event. Please, join us.

Friday 20 July 2012

THE DIRTY DOZEN w/e July 22nd 2012

Happy birthday to some lucky punter who took a gamble on a failed docket from five years ago which today, nevertheless, gets paid out in full. Yes, another unguaranteed bond, this time from Bank of Ireland, £200,000,000; That's pounds sterling, or €250,000,000 give or take a few million - who's counting? 

Some will point to the fact that we own only about a sixth of Bank of Ireland so that our share of this is 'only' about €40,000,000 - I ask, from which economy do ye think the balance is being drained? Which economy is producing all that money, all that profit, to enable our banks pay all these bonds?

Oh, ye've heard and read that these bonds are no longer a factor, that most of them have actually been paid by now? A few numbers for ye, and I guarantee ye, these numbers are rock solid:
  • €15.2bn - paid to date in 2012
  • €4.8bn -   yet to be paid in 2012
  • €17.4bn - yet to be paid 2013
  • €5.9bn -   yet to be paid 2014
  • €11.7bn - yet to be paid 2015
You think maybe it's German businesses and German people generating this profit in our banks so they can pay the failed bond investments of the German banks in those bailed-out Irish banks? No my friends, this is our money being bled from our economy, the ongoing ECB-ordered transfusion to the major financial institutions who made what turned out to be a bad investment in Irish banks, investments the ECB in turn blackmailed and bullied successive Irish governments into paying.

Under pressure from Spain and Italy the EU has finally admitted that the policy they forced on us has failed. They have a made a very vague statement on Ireland that appears to have got a lot of people very excited here - 'oh, we're going to get our money back'.

Let me emphasise this - WE ARE NOT GOING TO 'GET' OUR MONEY BACK. 

The EU/ECB have blackmailed and bullied us once, to get us to pay the €69.6bn we've so far put into our banks; they will try to blackmail and bully us again. Anyone who seriously believes we're just going to 'get' that money back is naive beyond belief.

Anything we now get back from the ECB on the strength of their admission and change of policy, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIGHT for TOOTH-AND-NAIL.

Who's going to be fighting for us? The same people in the permanent government (the civil servants), the replacement people in the elected government (the Oireachtas) who are implementing to the letter the same EU/ECB-led policy of the previous government, the same people who have already been cowed, coerced and scattered by the EU/ECB negotiators, that's who. We know - because Enda has told us - they'll use words to communicate their message, but what words?

One word I would use - demand. We demand back from the EU/ECB what they took from us. We demand:
  • €30.6bn - Promissory Notes - tear them up
  • €22bn - National Pension Reserve Fund - replenish this fund, plus interest lost
  • €17bn - Writedown of money owed to the EU emergency funds.
Until agreement on the above has been reached, those of in Ballyhea and in Charleville who have been marching every week since March 6th 2011 in protest at what the EU/ECB have been doing to us will continue to march. This Sunday, week 73, we're in Charleville, meet at 11.30am at the Library Plaza. Please join us.


Monday 9 July 2012

THE DIRTY DOZEN w/e July 15th 2012

According to the Namawinelake blog, with the injection last week of a €1.3bn payment to Irish Life and Permanent the gross cost so far to the Irish exchequer for bailing out our banks and their bondholders is  €69.7bn, made up as follows:  
AIB/EBS:                                      €20.7bn
Bank ofIreland:                                €4.7bn
IBRC (formerly Anglo/INBS):           €34.7bn
Irish Life and Permanent:                 €4.0bn
NAMA                                            €5.6bn
(that's state aid to the banks when it acquired €74bn of loans for which it paid €32bn.)

According to Census 2011 the population of the Republic of Ireland last year was 4,581,269, which means that between them, this government and the last has agreed a debt for every single one of us of €15,214 to bail out our banks and those to whom they owed those billions. In return for this largesse on the part of our government the ECB allowed us borrow those billions from them, with interest.

With all our energy a few of us in Ballyhea and Charleville are fighting this crime. We marched again last Sunday, week 71 of our protest, we'll march again next Sunday, and the Sunday after and the Sunday after, until this wrong is righted.

Our media again last week is selling the idea that everything has been sorted, has highlighted the claims of Enda and Michael that they have secured a great deal for Ireland in Europe, just a matter of ironing out a few details. Nothing is secured, everything is still up in the air. As a people we have got to start doing things for ourselves, we've got to start making our own demands. If we don't, then how can we complain about what befalls us?

This Thursday, July 12th, we pay a sterling bond of £1.5m to some lucky punter in EBS, lucky because this an unsecured unguaranteed bond that we have no duty to pay. Relative to the other bonds we - through our banks - pay out on a regular basis it's only a baby bond; I hope it's going to someone on the other side of the border here, a happy 'Twalfth' holiday to someone in Belfast perhaps - at least the money would be staying on the island.

Sunday 1 July 2012

THE DIRTY DOZEN w/e July 8th 2012

Many times over the last 70 weeks of the Ballyhea bank bondholder bailout protest I've been asked why it is that there isn't mass protest all over Ireland at what's being done to us, the imposition of an additional debt burden to satisfy the ECB's diktat that every bondholder in every bank must be paid in full, a burden that currently stands at €67.8bn or €14,799 for every resident of this state,

There are many reasons people aren't on the streets but one of the most shameful is the part being played by our national media - all elements of it - in spreading a false gospel; last week offered the perfect example.

Two zombie banks, Anglo Irish and INBS, paid out two bonds each, the four of which amounted to over €1.1bn, each of which was unsecured, unguaranteed. That €1.1bn is our money, comes from our pockets, yet in a week in which there were yet more announcements of cuts and projected cuts to the budgets of the weakest in our society there was no outcry from our national media, no major big-spread investigations into how, where, why, who.

On Friday morning, after those bonds had all been paid, at the end of another EU Summit in Brussels to try to solve this ongoing crisis (the 20th over the last few years), I was on my way to Clare when the news came on the radio, a breathless announcement - major breakthrough after an all-night session, Kenny and his doughty team had secured a major victory for Ireland in Europe on the issue of bank debt.

Brilliant news, fantastic news - now watch this country soar!

If only it were true. Once again our media almost en-masse hadn't bothered to question what they were being told by Enda and the rest, once again what we got was straight, undiluted government spin, once again we were completely betrayed by our fourth estate.

In the 307-word statement issued by the EU on that Friday morning there isn't a single word informing of a single cent of either debt writedown or debt writeoff for Ireland. There's a sentence in there that got people excited: When an effective single supervisory mechanism is established, involving the ECB, for banks in the euro area the ESM could, following a regular decision,have the possibility to recapitalize banks directly. I see two very big words in there - 'could' and 'possibility'.
Further on we get a mention - 'The Eurogroup will examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with the view of further improving the sustainability of the well-performing adjustment programme'. Will someone please explain to me how that can be parlayed right now into us getting any kind of debt writedown or writeoff, how anyone can claim with any kind of certainty that we're going to benefit to the tune of billions?

The reality of our situation is that we still have that massive bank debt burden, we still have those odious Promissory Notes to pay (in full, including the coupon/interest), we are still paying off every single bond from every single bank. If it's decided to apply those bank bailout conditions retrospectively (and with the likes of Belgium, Spain, Italy and even Germany itself then all likely to be looking for backdated billions that they have poured into their banks, that is by no means certain), there is a possibility that with a little imaginative financial engineering (buzzwords for Enda these days) we'll be able to take that bank debt off the sovereign books and make ourselves look better for the almighty markets. The actual debt, however, will still remain, we'll still be paying it all off.

It's like this my friends; we've been lumped with a mortgage we never took out on a house we never owned and now, with the possibility of a change of mortgage-holder, we're all supposed to celebrate. Not in Ballyhea. Our protest goes on, 12 more reasons why below.