Tuesday, 3 April 2012


If you were in dispute with your bank over a large sum of money, with considerable merit to your arguments for having that debt greatly reduced or even written off completely, would you go away and borrow from another source - at interest rates even higher than your bank was going to charge - the entire amount to make the first massive instalment payment? Worse, would you then set the terms of the new locked-in loan so that it’s not you but your children who will actually pay off that loan? And plan on doing something similar with the rest of the disputed debt?

In a nutshell that’s what Michael Noonan did last week. He took a debt that was negotiable, arguable – the Promissory Notes – and converted it into a non-negotiable inarguable government bond, a bond that will be paid on 2025. By then Michael, along with Enda Kenny and the rest of this lamentable Cabinet, will be long gone from office, out grazing in lush pastures, enjoying their fat pensions even as the next generation is left to deal with this legacy. The increased cost of that new debt for this year alone is estimated at €90m – well, all those of you who have paid your household charge, you know now where that money is gone (and then some, as they haven’t collected even close to €90m), with just one stroke of the bould Michael’s pen. And it’s presented to us as a ‘victory’.

On thorny issue after thorny issue, when it comes to tackling the big boys this government – as with the last – has displayed a marked lack of courage. The problems we have now are problems created by us, this generation. We must end this vacillating, we must stop running scared; we should face up to these problems now and we should tackle them now. The first order of business MUST be to tell the ECB – no more Promissory Notes. It was to cover their banks that this money was printed in the first place; we’re taking no more responsibility for that debt, is what we should tell the ECB – it’s yours, all yours. Consequences? Do your worst but this is our fight – we’re not running anymore, this is where we take our stand.

Diarmuid O'Flynn.

Twitter @ballyhea14; http:/bondwatchireland.blogspot.com