Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The basic questions

We’re hearing a lot of questions lately about how much we, the Irish people, can afford to pay, about whether we can afford to carry the additional burden of the private bank/bondholder debt imposed on us by the ECB on top of our own sovereign debt.  There’s talk of the ECB tweaking the inflated interest rate they are charging us for their loans, of even perhaps extending the life of the debt, as they look for ways to squeeze every last drop from us.  But what of the more basic questions, the more pertinent questions?
1.  The initial bad investment was made here by the bondholders, which then enabled the banks to make THEIR bad investments, which in turn allowed the developers to make theirs, then in turn again those who bought houses and properties etc. etc.; all the above have now suffered hugely, bar one – those who started it off.  Is it right that those bondholders should now see that bad investment paid off, in full?
2.  Most of those loans, up to 100 billion euro, were taken out by less than 100 decision-makers at the top of the Irish banking system; a) why should all of us, the Irish people, be held accountable for that recklessness by a few, and b) why are those bondholders NOT held accountable for their recklessness, for the fact that they didn’t carry out their own due diligence?
3.  Is it right that these bonds should now be paid off – in full – by us, the Irish people, most of whom had no hand, act or part in any of this, when we are already paying a massive price for the crash of a property boom inflated by the injection of all these billions?  What moral justification is there for that, for demanding that we pay twice – in effect – for the seriously flawed judgement of these bondholders?
These are the most relevant questions of all, and they should be asked by everyone in this country, again and again, until we get credible answers.  In tiny Ballyhea here in North Cork we’re saying ‘No to the bondholder bailout,’ and we’ve been saying it now for five weeks, a protest march at the same time every Sunday, 11.45am; Fermoy have taken up the call, and we now ask every other parish/village/town and city to join us.  Our cause is just, our questions legitimate; we will have answers.
Diarmuid O'Flynn.