Monday, 25 July 2011

Coming-of-age - our 21st Protest March, and we're stepping up

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July 25th 2011 - coming-of-age, our 21st march and stepping it up

It’s said that one sign of lunacy is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. I suppose what we’ve been trying to do in Ballyhea for the last five months and more, and now in Charleville for the last six weeks, could be described as madness, trying not just to mobilise an entire country but to influence almost an entire continent. We do learn, however, and so it is that last Sunday’s march in Ballyhea against the continued obscenity that is the bondholder bailout was simultaneously our coming of age – our 21st weekly march – and our final Sunday morning protest.

So, have we given up, have we lost our mojo? Not a bit of it; in fact far from quitting, we’re stepping up our campaign. No more off-peak protests, no more going out of our way to avoid disruption to anyone; as of this week we will be joining forces with our neighbours in Charleville and alternating our protest marches at 5pm every Friday in the two centres, alternating from week to week, deliberately timed to bring more attention to what’s happening in this country on a weekly basis with NO publicity, namely the regular payment of the failed private bank-to-bank bonds as their ‘maturity’ date comes up.

In fact not alone are we not getting the full news from any of our mainstream media, the news we are getting is either false or fanciful.

That great negotiating ‘victory’ by Enda and the lads last week? Nonsense – that summit happened ONLY because Italy and Spain were being dragged into the crisis, and because Greece was on the brink.
‘Negotiators’? While Sarkozy and Merkel were meeting the previous day to thrash out the details of the deal, including our fate, our Taoiseach didn’t think it worth his while to meet the leadership of any of the other countries on the periphery. Ireland had a real opportunity here, could have stood with Portugal and demanded that whatever deal was offered to Greece should also be offered to us or there would be no deal at all, a situation neither Sarkozy nor Merkel could have contemplated – they didn’t even meet.

And the numbers involved, varying from an annual boost of €800m ‘saved’ (Irish Times and Indo) to €1bn (Irish Examiner)? Again, nonsense – IF we draw down all the monies offered by all the various parties in the original agreement of last November to whom this might apply (€40bn from Europe, €5bn bilateral loans), and IF all those parties agree to extend the new terms (as looks likely now), and IF it’s backdated to take account of money already drawn down (€15bn) then yes, we might ‘save’ that billion.

What’s NOT being reported with the same blaring headlines however is the offsetting effect of the increased baseline ECB lending rate, as applied to the current (and growing) debt to Europe; what’s NOT being reported are the bonds being paid week after week, the massive annual borrowing needed to meet those payments (€7bn this year, €20bn in 2012, €17bn in 2013 – work out the growing interest repayments on those sums), even as cuts and closures are being announced.

A proposed household tax of €100 per family home? Factor in the costs of administering this charge and it will generate about €150m; this Friday, July 29th, and with our money, EBS will pay to an unnamed bank/financial institution a failed unsecured bond of €40m – that’s about the total take from Munster and part of Connacht of the proposed property tax.

Here, among this group in Ballyhea and Charleville, we believe that’s wrong, we believe it must be protested. In Greece, in France, in Spain, when the people are being abused in the way we’re being abused they take to the streets – in Ireland we take to the boat and the plane. Well, not us, not anymore, and even if we’re the only ones in Ireland protesting then so be it, but we’re not going away.

     Brollies up but spirits never dampened – the 21st protest march
Yours sincerely,
Diarmuid O'Flynn.