Tuesday, 26 January 2016


A week ago, January 18th, I attended a meeting at Newcestown’s well-appointed Bishop Galvin Central School. By the scheduled start time of 8pm it was already standing-room only, around 200 people packing into the hall/gymnasium.

The outline of their problem is this: A decision has been taken that under the ‘nearest school’ bus-route rule, Newcestown Central School is set to lose up to 40% of its pupils in the coming years. This decision has the potential not just to split families, those with children already attending the Central School but whose younger siblings will now be bussed only to the school nearest them; it also has the potential to split this entire community.

It is a decision that breaks a commitment made over 40 years ago when the Central School was being established. With the promise of better central facilities and free transport, parents agreed to the closure of smaller outlying schools; the former has been delivered, in spades (thanks in the main to the community itself) but now, with this decision, the promise of free transport to the Central School has been broken.

On so many levels, all of which were outlined at the meeting, the decision makes no sense, least of all on the main reason quoted – cost savings, value for money. 

Many of those now denied bus transport to the Central School will still qualify for transport to their new schools, in some cases possibly requiring new routes; many of those new schools to which those approximately 80 pupils are sent will now also have to build new classrooms to accommodate the potential new numbers, while classrooms in the better-equipped Central School lie idle. 

Greatest potential cost of all however, and the greatest potential loss, is to the community itself. 

When whoever it was that made this decision took out their calculators, did they factor in the devastation it was going to cause to the lives of the children, families and community affected? When decisions such as this are made right across all government departments – and they are, at a depressingly frequent rate – is such devastation EVER factored in?

The frustration of the parents in that room was palpable. They came for answers from those of us who have declared our intent to run in their constituency (Cork North-West) in the upcoming general election, they came for solutions; they got waffle, including from yours truly – as a wannabe, there is nothing I can do.

Going from pillar to post, trying desperately to find a way to have this decision reversed, trying to get to those who actually MADE the decision, they are playing handball against a haystack, all their efforts frustrated, their energy absorbed by the new great machine where no-one is responsible for anything, no-one can be held accountable as bucks are passed and hands are washed.

The buck SHOULD stop with the Ministers responsible, Jan O’Sullivan and Damien English – can you imagine either of them tolerating this happening in Limerick City or in Meath West? But it’s not in their backyard so they don’t give a damn.

We’re back in Newcestown on February 12th for a progress report from all of us as to what we’ve managed to do about this. Two people who were at the meeting on Tuesday evening, and only those two people, can progress this, along with another who sent a message. 

Michael Creed, Áine Collins and Jim Daly, Fine Gael TDs all three, are the ones with direct access to those two Ministers. This ball is now in their alley. For the sake of the entire community of Newcestown, I hope they too aren’t reduced to playing their handball against that haystack.

Diarmuid O'Flynn

Those standing are parents of the children affected by the new bus-route rule

Wednesday, 30 December 2015


The ongoing cancellation of the IBRC Promissory Note bonds and subsequent destruction of the money raised is a three-part process: 
  1. The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) issues sovereign bonds from which it raises billions of euro – this becomes part of the national debt, interest paid on the bonds from the date of sale, the principal to be repaid when those bonds mature; 
  2. In increments (so far) of €500m, the NTMA uses some of those billions to buy the IBRC Promissory Note bonds held by the Central Bank of Ireland; 
  3. The Central Bank of Ireland destroys the hundreds of millions received from the NTMA and that portion of the €31bn Promissory Note debt is declared ‘cancelled’, thus satisfying the ECB. This is the most critical of the three elements, in fact the raison d'être for the entire exercise – Quantitative Squeezing is what MEP Luke Ming Flanagan has titled it, the ECB-ordained destruction of the entire €31bn used to bail out the failed creditors of two failed Irish banks, Anglo Irish and INBS.

In 2014 the Central Bank of Ireland destroyed €1bn, two bonds of €500m each purchased by NTMA; in 2015, another four bonds of €500m each, an additional €2bn destroyed.

In any of our national media that actually bothered to report the above, the third element, the destruction of the billions, was omitted. Why? Because it’s all too complex for us simple plebs to understand? I don’t think so.

The actual Promissory Note bonds are themselves also easily explained and understood:
What happens to a house built on dodgy foundations, a house missing many critical support pillars and beams? When the banking crisis hit Ireland the ECB still had no structures in place to deal with troubled banks (from January 1st 2016 the new banking Single Resolution Mechanism kicks in, eight years too late for us). 

It did however have a policy – no bank would be allowed fail. So in 2009/10 when Anglo and INBS were already (to anyone with even half a brain) obviously insolvent, a fudge was concocted between the Central Bank of Ireland, the Irish government and the ECB to save those banks. This involved the issuance of Promissory Notes by the Irish government, accepted as collateral by the Central Bank of Ireland/ECB, and funding eventually amounting to €31bn was issued to the two insolvent banks from the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) fund.

Despite the fact that this was done principally to save bigger banks across the eurozone, in Germany and France particularly (Anglo and INBS were non-systemic to the Irish banking system); despite the fact the ECB colluded in the circumventing of its own rules on use of the ELA; despite the fact all involved knew that Anglo/INBS (later combined to become IBRC) would never be able to repay those billions, the same ECB now insists that Ireland must take that entire €31bn back out of circulation.

We don’t have it (we’re broke, up to our necks in debt), so we borrow it and tranche by €500m tranches, our Central Bank destroys it – the three-part system described above.

Is all this too complex to understand? Why are not being told what’s happening? We in the Ballyhea Says No understand, we know what’s happening, down to the last sordid detail. 

We are determined that all in Ireland should also know, that all our friends in Europe (and we have many) should know. 

And we are determined that however long it takes, this wrong will be righted. Water under the bridge? The Central Bank of Ireland still holds €25bn in Promissory Note bonds, awaiting sale, money then destroyed. That’s a lot of water yet to flow…

This Sunday, January 3rd 2016 at 10.30am, the Charleville Library Plaza, week 253. You’re welcome to join us.

It's not necessarily the truth, it's what they choose to tell you

Regards and thanks,
Diarmuid O'Flynn