Thursday, 26 April 2012



THE ORIGIN: On Sunday March 6th 2011, the weekend after the General Election, 18 of us took the first steps in this protest, in Ballyhea. Enda Kenny hadn’t even begun to form his coalition government with the Labour Party but already he was reneging on one of Fine Gael’s most fundamental election promises, that there would be burden-sharing with the bank bondholders (apparently we hadn’t read the small print) – it was time for direct action. A few months later we were joined by Charleville and every Sunday, at 11.30am, alternating between Ballyhea and Charleville, we march (details of next march on Facebook page, 'Ballyhea bondholder bailout protest').

THE CAUSE: It’s single issue – end the bank bondholder bailout. The ECB are the ones who’ve been dictating that all of Ireland’s banks – through us, the Irish people - must pay all their bonds in full, coupon and all; the ECB should pick up that tab. Those were private interbank deals between consenting adults who trade on the risk/reward principle that underpins capitalism; in insisting that those failed bonds in failed banks be paid, the ECB is undermining capitalism (or perhaps the mandarins in the ECB didn’t read the small print – warning, your investment can fall as well as rise).

THE BONDS: In September 2008, acting under misinformation, the true bank debts grossly understated, Brian Lenihan gave a blanket bank guarantee. The value?
• Bond payments September 2008 to April 2012:        €103.7bn
• Bond payments April 2012 onwards:                   €40.6bn
TOTAL BOND PAYMENTS (according to Michael Noonan): €144.3bn

THE COST: So far, according to Mr Noonan, the bank recapitalisation – what we’ve put into the banks, mainly to enable them keep paying these bonds – is €62.8bn (Anglo/INBS €34.7bn; AIB/EBS €20.7bn; BoI €4.7bn; IL&P €2.7bn). Given that according to Mr Noonan himself those banks still have over €40bn to pay (we reckon the figure is closer to €55bn), there is a good possibility we may have to recapitalise again. Also, the above figure does NOT include interest lost on the money taken from the National Pension Reserve Fund, nor the interest we’ll have to pay on the borrowings needed to fund all that recapitalisation.

THE HUMAN COST: We were told all this was done for our benefit, that we had to ‘rescue’ our banks or our world would implode. Check the second table below - four years on from 2008 look at what’s happened; our debt has quadrupled, our unemployment has doubled, emigration is back with a bang, services cut back, our deficit is STILL there. The REAL cost though, in human misery and suffering - who has a measure for that?

OUR BANKS: Still there too, paying their bonds with our money, sucking the lifeblood from our economy. €68.2bn we've paid directly so far, billions more in lost interest (NPRF) and in accruing interest (loans from ECB to pay those billions), billions more (probably) in further recapitalising if we stay on the current track (you really think the five remaining banks will pay €55bn in four years from what they currently have in the kitty plus profits over the next four years?); this is not to mention the billions they're making currently from the Irish economy itself, then being bled out to the bondholders.

Put all that money together, then ask yourself - what kind of lunacy is this? The moral issue aside (and believe me, when it comes to money the ECB has no problem brushing moral issues aside), what kind of government accepts a deal that imposes that entire debt burden on its people just to enable it borrow cheap money, much of which goes to paying that additional debt anyway?


THE BONDS – M Noonan says €40.6bn yet to pay, we say €55bn


A billion euro: €1,000,000,000, a thousand million euro, 50 Lotto wins

TWITTER: @ballyhea14     
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