Monday 25 February 2013

THE DIRTY DOZEN - w/e Mar 3rd 2013

In the week that's in it, the 2nd anniversary in Ballyhea of our weekly protest against the bank bailout, turns out that 11 of the next 12 bonds being paid by our Irish banks are senior unsecured. Think what those millions would do in our health service, in education, for our hard-pressed Gardaí.

Then again maybe it's better that we don't think along those lines, that we don't think of the €10.3bn in bonds our banks will pay over the rest of this year, not including the estimated €1bn Anglo will have to cough up now that it's been wound up, at a time when those same banks can't afford to write down the mortgages of its own myriad home-owners in negative equity.

By the way, does it strike anyone else as odd the way Minister Noonan and all the various government apologists seem to have gotten away with the explanation as to why they never even asked for debt writedown? 'The ECB has never granted such a request!'' spake Michael, dismissively, and that then was where it was left. But Michael, the euro itself has only been in existance since 1999, 14 years; this crisis has been there only for the last five of those years. Everything the ECB has done in the last few years has been unprecedented, much of it has been outside its own existing parameters, has bent almost beyond recognition many of its own biggest rules. 

Noonan's 'reason' has to be the most lame, the most lamentable, the most ludicrous excuse ever offered for failure in negotiations; it's the line of a loser, perfectly illustrates (if it needed any more illustration) just how inept he and his negotiating team has been in Europe.

The next dirty dozen.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

THE DIRTY DOZEN w/e Feb 24th 2013

Baffles me how otherwise intelligent people can believe that the wretched deal done by this government a couple of weeks ago is in any way a positive. Any short-term gain is now dubious but even at that it's at the considerable cost of making concrete that which was fluid. We now have sovereign debt piled on sovereign debt, kicked out into the future in the forlorn and futile hope that we will somehow grow our way out of all this mess.

The bank bonds, meanwhile, even with Anglo and Irish Nationwide now out of the picture, continue to impact, nearly €11bn still to be paid this year alone by our remaining banks. You think that kind of leakage from this broken economy isn't an impediment to growth?

We're still marching in protest in Ballyhea and in Charleville, two years completed next Sunday, week 104, but we're no longer on our own. Several centres have now started weekly protests and several more are in the planning stage. For information please go to the Facebook group page Ireland says NO! to BANK DEBT, or follow on @ballyhea14.

For our 2nd anniversary march on the weekend of March 2nd/3rd we have an event planned for the Saturday evening, an open meeting in the Charleville Park Hotel from 8-11pm, with economists Constantin Gurdgiev and Michael Taft and independent politician Luke Ming Flanagan - free admission, all welcome. We also have a couple of announcements to make that evening on how we plan on progressing and escalating our protest.

Here they are, the next 12 bonds due, with summaries underneath.

Wednesday 13 February 2013


Listening to the recording of Dr Terry McDonough of NUIG, speaking in Galway on Feb 12th, it's obvious that the proclaimed €20bn bond 'savings' over the next ten years is a fallacy - we don't now have to issue those bonds only because we've already issued them!

Equally obvious, the equally proclaimed near-€1bn annual interest 'savings' is also false; in the first instance the actual interest we're paying to the ECB remains the same, at just under 1%; since we were paying the bulk of the interest in the original Promissory Notes to ourselves, albeit in a roundabout fashion, and since we are now also paying the interest on the new bonds to ourselves (for the moment anyway, as long as the Irish Central Bank holds those bonds), everything else is just an accounting exercise, a book savings. 

In fact, however, and this was brought up by Terry McDonough during his discourse, this deal is going to cost us over the next couple of years. In 2013 there are the outstanding bonds to be paid to the IBRC bondholders, in 2014 there will be the wind-up costs, the legal fees and redundancies etc.

Below I have produced a table of the remaining IBRC bonds. My question, one I'd like to see some TD take up by way of Parliamentary Question to Michael Noonan (and no, I don't know the answer) - how many of those bonds will be paid, how much on each bond, and when? Scroll down to the bottom, see the total - over €4bn still outstanding.

Monday 11 February 2013

THE DIRTY DOZEN w/e Feb 17th 2013

As Michael Noonan crowed over the debt with which he had saddled future generations of his own people, he tossed out a couple of his little anecdotes. 

The first concerned his own personal home mortgage, how little the cost seemed in the final month of the 25-yr loan; the second was a suggestion for Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty, how quickly he felt Pearse would snap up an offer to accept a loan of €1000 today from Michael but repay only the same €1000 in 40 years.

Two answers to those little anecdotes Michael.

In the first instance, at least at the end of the 25 years you have a house, and had it for the full duration of the mortgage; thanks to you and your betrayal last week of the Irish people, we're now committed to paying a mortgage on a house we never owned, and will never own.

In the second instance, at least Pearse would have got that €1000, which he was then free to invest for his own benefit; again thanks to you and your betrayal last week of the Irish people, we have now been saddled with an additional sovereign debt of €31bn (I include the 2011 payment) on a loan we never took out, not a cent of which was ever for our benefit.

Additionally Michael, and a critical detail you neglected to mention in that little anecdote, there is the little matter of the interest on that notional €1000 loan to Pearse. Then again you're not fond of detail, are you Michael, going by your advice in the Dáil 'debate' that we should just ignore the details of the unfortunately not-so-notional deal you had just concluded.

I have two little analogies of my own for you Michael.

1) We were stitched up for a crime we didn't commit, found guilty, sentenced to 20 years hard labour. The very expensive lawyers we've hired from the firm of Kenny, Noonan, Gilmore & Rabbitte didn't bother to appeal the verdict but instead got us a reduction on the hard labour for the first few years, but this relief is coupled with an extension of the sentence to 40 years, with the bonus that our kids and grandkids (depending on our age) will now have to share the cells with us. You, and your media cheerleaders, expect us to be happy with that?

2) We're a family of four, our local bank manager calls us, informs us that someone with whom we do business has reneged on a loan of €60,800 (our 'per capita' bank bailout cost is €15,200). He has opened a loan account in our name, set the terms, conditions and payment schedule, the money to be deducted automatically from our account every month. We hire those same expensive lawyers from that same firm, they don't bother to appeal the odious debt but sign us up to an interest-only 40-yr mortgage, the final sum to be paid by our kids and grandkids. Again, you and your media cheerleaders expect us to be happy with that?

How anyone can see this as a good deal for the Irish people is beyond me. Permanently saddled with a €69.7bn bank bailout debt is accepted as being 'the best we can do'; not sharing the bank debt burden with those who caused this crisis but accepting that we can burden-share that same debt with our kids and grandkids; a negotiating tactic of conceding the main issue even without argument (not looking for debt writedown); that anyone can accept any of this is beyond me.

This is debt slavery for generations of Irish people, payment for 40 years on loans we never took out. Again and again I repeat, this was private bank debt, financial for-profit agreements between consenting adults in private financial institutions. For the years when those bond agreements were generating profits, those lender financial institutions were more than happy to take those profits; they should also have takes their losses. Forcing those losses on the Irish people is wrong, period, and any subsequent debt associated with that act is odious.

In Ballyhea and Charleville the fight against that crime continues but we're no longer alone, with groups now starting in various centres across the country. On March 3rd we will be entering our third year of weekly protest. If you even the merest sense of what's right and wrong, you will resist this latest betrayal of your own interests, you will join us.

The bank bonds? No, they haven't gone away.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

THE DIRTY DOZEN w/e Feb 10th 2013

Much has been made of Michael Taft's illuminating recent article in on Ireland's 'contribution' to Europe's bank bailout, general outrage at the fact that according to Eurostat, the EU's own statmasters, little old Ireland, with just 0.9% of the entire EU population, has so far contributed 42% of the total cost of the European banking crisis. That's an average per capita payment of of €8981 which is over 18 times what Germany - who come second on that inglorious list - has paid per capita.

How much greater would be the outrage, however, if Eurostat had published the true numbers? As Micheal points out in that same article, the EU statmasters do NOT include the €21bn taken from our National Pension Reserve Fund and given to the banks. Add that to the Eurostat figures, redraw those bar graphs, what then? Where would we be, how much more outraged?

According to my calculations, and based on a blog by the excellenent Namawinelake, when everything is included the actual total bank bailout cost so far is €69.7bn which, based on the 2011 census, means a per capita figure of over €15,200.

It's obscene, that's what it is. How can any government stand over this imposition of debt on its own people, private debt that was never ours? And it's still going on.

In the last few days I've again read reports that the bank bonds are a dead issue, that they are now all paid. Usually in this blog I give only the next dozen bonds but this week, at the bottom of this page, I also include the entire list to the end of 2015. Scroll down through them, total them, then tell me the bank bonds are history, all done with.

Oh, they're mostly 'guaranteed'? Two things to remember: 1) Guaranteed or not this is all money leaving the Irish banking system over the next three years, the lifeblood being drained from an already weakened economy; 2) How many of those guaranteed bonds are the result of unguaranteed bonds being rolled over, merely taking advantage of the new system?