Monday, 6 June 2011

Real heroes

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FACEBOOK PAGE:   Ballyhea bondholder bailout protest
June 6th 2011
In Dublin on Saturday last for the Christy Ring final in Croke Park (great win for Kerry, magnificent achievement by John Meyler and his management team but most of all by the players themselves – hurling on the ‘up’ from the Kingdom to the capital!), spent a few hours with my in-laws, Niall and Phil Henderson, in Willow Park Avenue in Ballymun.
Niall and Phil are in their 80s, have lived in Ballymun all of their 50+ married years.  You'll know their house immediately, the one with the immaculate front lawn that looks like it’s been cut with a scissors, edged year-round in a colour-fest of flower-beds.  Niall’s gardening efforts extend far beyond his own lawns, however, and for many years now he has been tending the community green in front of his house, flowers planted around every tree in the area, the beds kept weed-free.  On this day and as I was leaving, he was on his knees in front of one those trees, doing the needful.

Niall and Phil Henderson are the real heroes of this society, of any society.  Working all the hours God gave, in his job as a printer foreman with Fodhla Niall supported a family of four; Phil too would have worked outside the home but, through the rules of the day (seems incredible now, doesn’t it?), was forced to give up her Civil Service job when she got married.  She kept a good home, however, is still the rock of that family, and all four kids got a damned near perfect upbringing.
A generation behind them, in 1916 Niall’s father Frank, head of the Dublin Brigade of the IRA, was one of the men in the GPO with Pearse and the rest, was also a leading light in the War of Independence; Phil’s father, Denis Begley from Charleville, was a member of Michael Collins’ inner circle during that period, also played an active part in the fight; again, real heroes, who took very real risks with their lives.
We owe those people.  We owe those like Frank Henderson and Denis Begley who risked their lives – lost their lives in many instances – to establish this republic; we owe those like Phil and Niall who  worked so hard for so long for so little, to get this republic on its feet, and who are now wholly reliant on their pensions; we owe ourselves, our own generation, to ensure that at the very least we hold that which those previous generations fought and worked for; we owe our children, the next generation and the one after that again, to hand on this republic in at least as fine an order as that which was handed to us.
We must stand up NOW to the bully-boys of the ECB, we must tell them - no, no more of your decrees, no more of your crippling diktats, no longer will we honour bonds that we were never party to, that were agreements between private institutions.  We must reclaim our sovereignty.
March with us, every Sunday; demand that the deal of last November be rescinded; demand at the very least a referendum before another cent is paid out.  Two weeks ago Anglo Irish Bank – a decaying putrid corpse – paid out €200m to unsecured unguaranteed senior bondholders; according to a Central Bank table of March 2011, there is still €64.326bn to be paid, €7bn due this year, €20bn in 2012; to subsidise this kind of madness we have families with special-needs kids who are no longer eating properly, we have an education system being shorn week by week of those who teach the weakest, we have pensioners like Niall and Phil Henderson who are being hit with levies/charges/stealth taxes. 
For how much longer can you sit back and tolerate this?  We don’t have to risk bomb or bullet to protest, we just have to take to the streets.  It’s late in the game and much has already been lost, but it’s not too late.  Act now.  This Sunday and every Sunday in Ballyhea, 10.30am, a 10-minute march – join us, either in Ballyhea or better yet, in your own community.
Diarmuid O'Flynn.