In the decade of the so-called Celtic Tiger Irish banks borrowed billions, poured them into the property market, created a bubble of such enormity that when it burst, it destroyed the entire Irish economy, including the banks themselves. When those who had been foolish enough and reckless enough to lend those billions to those banks came looking to cash in their bonds there was precious little left, at which point the normal rules of economics should have kicked in – the bondholders cut and run, negotiate their losses and move on to the next likely investment.
In September 2008 came the first intervention, a weak and ill-advised government panicked into a blanket bank guarantee; on November 28th 2010 the second intervention, that guarantee copper-fastened in a deal which will go down in history as one of the most dastardly deeds ever done in the name of the Irish people - under duress from the ECB, the then Irish Government signed a deal under which the private debts between the Irish banks and their various bondholders were transferred, in full, to the Irish people.
Immoral, unjust, unconscionable – this was all of that and more. It was an unprecedented interference with the normal workings of the money markets, a decision that smacked more of empire than of community, a decision mandated by the ECB to protect the bondholders at the expense of the already seriously impacted Irish people. Threatened with withdrawal of all support, the then Irish government was basically blackmailed into signing the deal; the Irish people were never consulted, were simply saddled with a debt they had never themselves accrued.
We petition now for this deal to be undone; we petition for those bondholders to be treated now as they should have been treated then, with whatever consequences they have to suffer; at the very least, we petition for a referendum on this deal, that the Irish people may themselves decide whether or not it’s acceptable that they should now be saddled with this debt.