The first protest march against the terms of the recent IMF/ECB agreement was held in Ballyhea today, March 6th. It wasn’t a huge event, just 18 locals who came together at short notice and the march itself lasted for less than ten minutes, from the church car-park to the outer limit of the village and back, but it was nevertheless a major event, the first steps taken in what will become a weekly event, until such time as someone takes note.
We are asking two simple questions: 1) Is it right to combine the private debt owed to the bond-holders with sovereign debt? 2) Is it right that those bond-holders who gambled on the Irish economy, who poured billions into an already over-heated construction sector, fuelling the flames, and the debt to whom has now been placed on the shoulders of the Irish people, should themselves suffer no losses? To those two simple but primary questions, we in Ballyhea say a resounding NO.
We’re told we have no choice – well, when you haven't been asked, when you're not going to be asked, then certainly that is one way of making sure we have no choice. But of course we have a choice; as a nation, we can either accept this grossly unjust burden without protest, or we can take to the streets. That process started last Sunday, in Ballyhea; it will continue.
We’re told now that the ECB is relenting, that they are prepared to make concessions on the terms of the deal – is everyone taking us all for fools? If you want to continue to torture someone, you don’t kill them off early – you keep them alive, barely, but alive enough to feel the pain. The ECB have recognised what all the top economists recognised as soon as this obscene deal was struck – it wasn’t sustainable. What would it profit the ECB if we defaulted? Nothing. So, they’ve changed the terms, but not to facilitate us, the Irish nation – to facilitate themselves, to facilitate the bond-holders, to ensure that they get their full pound of flesh and then some, with that penal interest.
On this massive issue, an issue that affects every man, woman and child in this country, the incoming government is already proving as weak and inept as those who got us into this mess in the first place. We need strong personalities to take the above simple message back to the ECB – we say NO to the above two questions, we say NO to this deal. Instead, we have more of the spineless, gutless bleating that we heard from the inglorious fianna failures.
People, it’s time to walk.