Aug 2nd 2012
Ref: WEEK 75 BALLYHEA/CHARLEVILLE BANK BONDHOLDER BAILOUT PROTEST MARCH
It began on March 6th 2011, the weekend after the General Election when Fine Gael leader and prospective Taoiseach Enda Kenny indicated, even before he had formed a government, that he would be going back on his pre-election promise of burden-sharing with the bondholders; 75 weeks later it’s still going strong.
Ballyhea is a rural parish in north Cork on the main Cork/Limerick road, has a population of around 1,000 souls, Charleville the nearest town, has a population of around 3,500. Sixteen weeks into our protest a group from Charleville followed our example and began marching in the town; several weeks after that we joined forces and since then we’ve alternated the march between the two centres, every second Sunday in each place. This week it’s the turn of Charleville, gathering at the Library Plaza at 11.30am.
We will be joined this week by well-known economist Dr Constantin Gurdgiev (his third march) and by highly respected Independent Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly (his first outing), along with several other high-profile individuals. After the march, which lasts for only about 15 minutes, Constantin and Stephen will host a discussion at the Park Hotel, on the outskirts of the town.
With the recent statement from the Leaders’ Summit, ‘We affirm that it is imperative to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns’, the EU has admitted that its policy of the past few years as forced on Ireland, the conversion of private bank debt to sovereign debt, was wrong, has to be changed. In Ballyhea/Charleville, we’ve been protesting that wrong for 75 weeks.
This admission by the EU is welcome, very welcome. However – and this point is critical – it doesn’t right the wrong, it merely acknowledges it. We can’t undo the massive damage done to the Irish economy and to Ireland’s reputation as a result of the EU/ECB policy over the past few years; we must do our damnedest, however, to get back the billions we were blackmailed into pumping into our failed banks to enable them to pay the failed bonds (a practice, by the way, that continues unabated - €19bn in bonds from Irish banks this year alone).
So we march, 75 weeks now. It’s not Olympic-standard endurance but we are in search of gold, our gold, and until we see this wrong righted, until we see action as opposed to rhetoric, we’ll continue to march. We invite anyone in the area to please join with us this Sunday. This is not just Ballyhea’s fight, nor just Charleville’s fight – it’s YOUR fight, it’s everyone’s fight, right across Europe.
Regards, Diarmuid O'Flynn.