The second protest march against the terms of the IMF/ECB agreement was held in Ballyhea today and while the numbers were still small (around 45 of us), it represented a significant increase over the attendance at the first march, which was held last Sunday week. Next Sunday, starting at 11.45pm (after second Mass), and every Sunday until such time as we get satisfaction, we will again be meeting in the church car-park, and we will again be marching in protest. It’s a short march and deliberately so, from the car-park to the village speed-limit sign and back – we don’t want to impinge on people’s valuable time, nor unduly disrupt traffic through the village. It is, however, nonetheless serious because of that.
Our case is simple: the ‘agreement’ that was foisted on us, the Irish people, last November, is wrong. We can use any additional descriptive adjective we like – shameful, unjust, unjustifiable, immoral, etc. etc. – but that is the one word above all others to describe it; it’s wrong. The national debt, the money needed to run the country while we try to close the current deficit, is our debt, a debt we should pay, a debt we must pay; the private debt run up by our banks to the bond-holders, is NOT our debt. That debt must be decoupled from the sovereign debt, must be treated separately, and that must be done now.
We are members of the EC, the European Community, and ‘Community’ suggests a place where the strong look after the weak; some ‘community’ this is. The exact opposite occurred, and our twin Brians were bullied/browbeaten/blackmailed into acceptance of this ‘agreement’. Leave aside the fact that some of the most respected economists on this island have said that this extra debt is unsustainable, will break us within a couple of years - it’s wrong, plain wrong.
So, here we are in this small parish, with our small voices, in weekly protest. As a parish we’re still on our own, and we’re also small enough in number, but we’re growing. We ask now that other parishes, other villages, towns and cities, join us; we ask that more of our own families in our own parish join us. Our previous government signed us up to this, our new government has accepted it, neither of them have asked us what WE thought. Renegotiating the interest rate? That’s simply rearranging the deck-chairs – we’ve got to change course, avoid this ice-berg.
Join us, say NO! The final say in any democracy rests with the people - let your voice be heard, march.