Tuesday, 2 April 2013

THE DIRTY DOZEN - w/e Apr 7th 2013

When the meeting of Euro Finance Ministers chaired by our own Michael Noonan agreed that under the terms of its proposed 'bailout' every depositor in every bank in Cyprus would be burned there was uproar on the island. The people took to the streets, besieged parliament as the vote was being taken, forced a mind-change, saved the savings of all depositors of under €100,000. Small mercies.

I've heard it said many times that if the same thing were tried in Ireland we too would take to the streets, we too would be up in arms, our media leading the charge.

Wake up my friends. It has been done to us, albeit far more insidiously.

You've heard of the National Pension Reserve Fund? That is real money, our money, our national savings. We used to have well over €20bn in the fund, until it was raided. €20.7bn, that's how much has been taken from the Fund, €20.7bn of our money.

Taking the figures from Census 2011 there are approx. 1.1m families in Ireland; €20.7bn, 1.1m families - 'do the math' as our American cousins might say. That's nearly €19,000 per family taken from our national savings fund. That's our own government putting their hands into your pocket, taking nearly 19 grand, then giving it to banks and bankers to fund themselves, their salaries, their topped up pension funds, but most of all, to fund foreign financial gamblers whose punt on Ireland had failed.

You didn't feel it? You weren't supposed to, we have been robbed by stealth. But look around at the pain and misery being inflicted on you and on your friends and neighbours, then think of what that €20.7bn might do for us. A representative group of us from the Ballyhea & Charleville campaign group were in Brussels last week to meet Sharon Bowles where we made a presentation of our case for bank-debt writedown in Ireland, brought her six letters illustrating the pain of emigration, of family stresses, of marriage break-up, of health cutbacks, of a man's struggles, of losing the family home; those letters should be mandatory reading for all who legislate for the poor to bail out the rich.

How much employment could be created from using those funds to invest in infrastructure here? Even if it were just sitting there, a conservative interest-rate return is 5% - that's over €1bn a year; think of what could be done with that billion.

Because it wasn't taken directly from us as individuals, because we never saw that massive sum lifted from our savings, we didn't complain. But it happened. Oh, we got shares in the banks, may  even be worth a few billion now - we're happy with that?

There's worse, of course, far worse. The €30.6bn in Promissory Notes, billions poured into banks that were already dead, already rotting, to bail out more international financial gamblers, to pay more obscene pay and pensions for those at the top in the dead banks - we're on the hook for that as well. The recent stunt by Minister Michael Noonan in transforming that truly odious and thus very arguable debt into rock-solid sovereign bonds, debt to be paid by future generations of Irish, isn't in the least surprising. The same Michael Noonan has 'form' when it comes to hitting the vulnerable, his uncompromising attitude during the Hepatitis C blood scandal of the 90's forcing dying women through the courts.

But what of Labour? How can the party of James Connolly, of James Larkin, stand over all this? What happened in the lead-up to the global banking crisis was greed at its most extreme, financial greed, obscene profits being made by obscene people whose God is money. They created their own bubble, they burst their own bubble, and now we're forced to bail them out?

A few of us are on a crusade to expose this robbery from the Irish people for what it is - extortion by the ECB, sellout by our own governments, this one and the last. Four weeks ago, after over two years of weekly marches, we launched the 'Ireland says NO!' to bank debt initiative. Village by village, town by town, city by city, the message is spreading. We're asking people now to come alive, to see what's being done to us, to rise up and join the march in their own locality, or if no march currently exists, to start it off. The details of how it can be done are here.

Finally, the list of the next 12 bonds. The 'agreement' of last June, separating sovereign from bank debt? Doesn't apply, not to Ireland.


  1. hi diarmuid,
    wondering if you can shed some light please .yesteerdays propaganda was about how our quarterly spend is now done to a sub 4 billion overrun. the above monthly bondholder payments total roughy 5 billion or so.
    can you please put the 2 payments into context. ie if we stop paying the bonds how is our deficit?
    thanks again.
    cathal in fermoy.


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