ONLINE PETITION: http://www.petitiononline.com/isntbb11
FACEBOOK PAGE: Ballyhea bondholder bailout protest
July 11th 2011
‘Doing more with less’ has become the glib catch-cry of our new government; ‘Doing less with less’ would be a far more accurate and a far more honest slogan. Services cuts across the country, individual schools everywhere losing Special Needs Assistants, vacancies not being filled – this is more?
Already this week we’ve seen the closure of the A&E department in Roscommon Hospital, safety concerns the front but saving money the real reason; in November Mallow will follow, and there will be more, almost every hospital in the country over budget and being ordered to cut back, not another cent available. Those cuts are all the result of Budget 2011; the next Budget will look for another €4m in ‘savings’ - where do you think those ‘savings’ will come from?
Meanwhile, month on month, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, are being paid to bondholding banks in France and Germany, to financial institutions in Britain and the USA, a total of €7bn this year alone – that’s €7,000,000,000, a lot of noughts after that seven, but next year even that is dwarfed, €20,000,000,000 falling due. Those billions are being borrowed, at penal interest rates, from the ECB, that interest taken from our national coffers every year.
It’s not just cuts either; the government has stated that there will be no increase in income tax, no cuts in welfare payments – in light of the number of broken promises already, does anyone now believe that? Regardless, we’ll have water charges, property charges, any other charge they can think of, and the extra money thus raised will not go towards services, it will go towards paying off the penal interest on the ECB loans.
Our General Government Debt (GGD) at the end of 2010 was €148.6bn, the interest on which will cost us about €7bn this year; about half of that is due to the bondholder bailout borrowings. Before we’re done we’re due to pay another €64bn in bonds over the next few years to various German/French/British/American banks and financial institutions, all of which will have to be borrowed from that same ECB, all at those penal interest rates. How many more hospital closures? How much more contraction can our already hard-pressed education system endure? How many more reduced services across the board?
There are protests now on-going against the hospital closures, worthy protests, but wasted protests – as long as we’re paying those billions to bail out the bondholders the money is simply not there for our hospitals, our schools, our other essential services. Our protest, everyone’s protest, should be against that bailout – protest the cause, not the symptoms.
In Ballyhea we’re entering our 20th week of protest, in neighbouring Charleville, their fifth; this Friday, 5pm, we join forces and march down Main Street, Charleville. Please, see the bigger picture – join us, start your own regular weekly ‘No! to Bondholder Bailout’ protest march in your own community. For details on the how and the why, Google ‘thechatteringmagpie14 blog’.
Ellen (Ryan) Copps and Eileen Mackessy on the front line - Ballyhea 19th