Wednesday, 26 September 2012

THE AIB BILLION-EURO BOND



If – like me – you did the Lotto this week you're obviously hoping for a big win but you'd settle for any of the consolation prizes. This coming Monday, however, AIB will pay an unsecured unguaranteed billion-euro bond – that’s the equivalent of winning every Lotto every week (that’s two a week of €2m each) every year for almost the next five years, 500 consecutive Lotto wins. 
 
You didn’t know? How could you. As part of the policy of playing down the negative our national media is continuing to deliberately ignore ALL bank bond payments, thus you don’t know either that this billion will make it €18bn that our banks have paid in bonds so far this year; you don’t know there’s still another €2bn to go, and yet another €17bn next year.

You will know of course that Budget 2013 is being planned at the moment, the cuts/taxes of €3.5bn mandated by the ECB/EU/IMF troika. 

If you're young, elderly, sick, poor, weak, you'll be worried about what further cuts/extra costs can be applied to education, home help, hospital care, universal charges, allowances. If you're one of the masses, in employment or out you're worried how you're going to cope next year.

If you're a politician, either national or local, if you're one of the many advisers to one of those politicians, if you're a top civil servant, if you're a judge, if you're a top administrator with any of our many local authorities, you're not worried, not in the least.

You know that eventhough you should be up there at or near the top of the list in any objective summary of overpayments and overstaffing, that eventhough you should be among the first to feel the blade in any cost-cutting measure, you're safe. Why? Because those who give the orders in the new European Empire are not about to cut those whom they rely on to carry out those orders.

It has taken less than a century but we’ve managed to exchange one set of Masters for another, and one set of Overseers for another. These new Overseers have their lists, the targets that are set for us by our new Masters, they have their whips, which they’ll use to impose those targets on us; as reward for all that they are on extra rations, they are kept sweet.

Those who should be fighting our cause have abandoned us. The union leadership? They too are bought off. Most of them tied to top civil service salary scales, they too are insulated from all the cuts. The media? They have surrendered their independence, regurgitate undigested all government claims, play down any protest, any unrest, even in Europe – the masses must be kept in the dark. They ignore the reality of what’s happening, the insanity of this bank bailout and what it’s doing to Ireland.

A few of us ARE protesting, however, and have been doing so for over 82 weeks now. To mark the payment of that billion-euro AIB bond this Monday, the Ballyhea & Charleville bank bailout protest group are organising two events.

This Sunday, and simultaneously with our march at home (it’s in Charleville this week), we’ll be in Dublin again, meeting at the Garden of Remembrance at 11.30am then marching to Croke Park at noon. Hopefully the hurling supporters of both Galway and Kilkenny who offered encouragement and support from the footpaths the last time will fall in with us on this occasion.

On Monday we’re calling for people nationwide to protest nationwide, to make up a few simple signs proclaiming the fact that this bank on this day is paying €1bn of our money to mystery bondholders, go to their local AIB branch at noon, and mark this occasion. It may be for only a few minutes, it may be only a few of you, but this should be done. For Whom The Bell Tolls, that's what we're calling it, the noonday bells.

I know that to many of you, public protest is alien - to most of us on the Ballyhea protest that is the case; to many more of you, it’s futile. Believe me though when I say, in some circumstances, in circumstances such as this where the people have been abandoned by all those who are supposed to represent them, public protest is the ONLY way.

Regards, Diarmuid O'Flynn.

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