Saturday, 30 November 2013


Since March 6th 2011, for 143 weeks at the time of writing and with the sole exception of Christmas Day 2011 (fell on a Sunday), every week and sometimes several times a week we in the Ballyhea Says No group have marched in protest at the imposition of private bank-debt on the Irish people, all €69.7bn of it.

It's been a long road, going on three years now, but this week we can say this - we have turned a corner.

What began as a protest morphed into a campaign and so it was that we took the fight ourselves to Europe, first to the ECB HQ in Frankfurt, later to the EU, the European Council and the European Commission in Brussels, also again to the ECB itself but this time in Dublin, during one of their regular visits.

In our discussions with the officials from those various organisations we learned that while there is serious resistance to giving Ireland any kind of debt writeoff, there is also an acknowledgement that as a country, as a nation, we have been hard hit, disproportionately hit.

The most odious element of all the bank-debt, the area where we meet least resistance in Europe, is the Promissory Note debt, the €31bn printed in 2010 to bail out the two even then zombie banks, Anglo (€25.3bn) and INBS (€5.3bn).

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, November 26th/27th, giving up one of their own very valuable Private Member's Bill slots, the Technical Group introduced a Motion to the Dáil on our behalf, which reflected the first of the three Proposals we have developed to lift the bank-debt burden from the Irish people.

It was a modest proposal, a deliberately mild proposal, simply stated that the Irish government should ask - merely ask - that the ECB give our Central Bank permission to destroy the remaining €28.1bn Promissory Note bonds it is about to sell onto the international money market. 

This is a debt that the ECB was complicit in imposing on the Irish people, it is debt that was never used for the benefit of the Irish people, it is debt that was assumed to protect European banks, perhaps even the Euro itself. We don’t just have a right to repudiate this odious debt, on behalf of future generations on whose shoulders it has been placed we have a duty to do. It was created by the Central Bank with the push of a button, its destruction can similarly take place with the push of a button.

Watching that debate take place, seeing and hearing in the flesh the disdain in which we are held by this government, the sneering derision of a succession of government speakers, that was a real eye-opener. 

  • They didn't insult just us in Ballyhea and Charleville who have been campaigning for so long on this issue; 
  • They didn't just insult those in all the other Says No groups who have joined us in our weekly protest and campaign, reinforced by all those from various other organisations who joined us at the Dáil; 
  • They didn't just insult the 16 TDs in the Technical Group, every one of whom supported this Motion; 
  • They didn't just insult the six other Independent TDs who added their names to proposal, nor the 14 TDs from the Sinn Féin Party who also signed up to it; 
  • They insulted all those tens of thousands who voted for all those TDs.

As they spoke, as they deliberately ignored what the Motion was proposing and focused on what it was not; as they one by one parroted their scripted lines on all the great things this government is 'achieving', on all the great 'progress' the country is making under the boot of this government, how all the numbers are improving, I couldn't help but call to mind some very pertinent passages from what has become a very pertinent book, George Orwell's remarkably prescient Animal Farm:

'Throughout the year the animals worked even harder than they had worked in the previous year. To rebuild the windmill, with walls twice as thick as before, and to finish it by the appointed date, together with the regular work of the farm, was a tremendous labour. There were times when it seemed to the animals that they worked longer hours and were fed no better than they had done in Jones's day. On Sunday mornings Squealer, holding down a long strip of paper with his trotter, would read out to them lists of figures proving that the production of every class of foodstuff had increased by two hundred per cent, three hundred per cent, or five hundred per cent, as the case might be. The animals saw no reason to disbelieve him, especially as they could no longer remember very clearly what conditions had been like before the Rebellion. All the same, there were days when they felt that they would sooner have had less figures and more food.'

That's in Chapter 8 - ye all know how the rest of that book goes.

We got a couple of very up-close-and-personal insights into what our hugely expensive national broadcaster thinks of us. Up first was Bryan Dobson on RTE's Six-One News. Holding up a sign that read BURN THE BONDS, NOT THE BILLIONS, as Bryan was interviewing a new cheerleader for what they seem to hope is a new property bubble, one of our number spotted an opportunity to let the viewers know there was a protest going on at the Dáil. 'Idiots', that's how Bryan dismissed us but that's just Bryan, isn't it?

At around the same time another of our number, Fiona Fitzpatrick, spotted another RTE heavyweight, one David Davin-Power. As he waited at the lights to cross Kildare Street she went up to him and politely (that's Fiona) asked if he'd have any interest in covering our protest - 'No interest in the world', that was his dismissive reply as he stalked away. But that's just David, isn't it?

Of much wider significance, and the reason our doughty protester felt compelled to hold up that sign, is this; despite being made well aware of what was a pretty historic event RTE made an editorial decision to give absolutely no coverage to either the Motion or to the protest.

  • The fact that for the first time ever the 16 TDs of the Technical Group, from right across the political spectrum, could agree and unite behind a Motion of this nature - RTE deemed this was not news; 
  • The fact that a Motion calling for debt writeoff had never before been debated in the Dáil - RTE deemed this was not news; 
  • The fact that a small group which has been protesting for nearly three years, every week, that itself has been face-to-face with senior officials in the various layers of the European political institutions, could end up with one of its proposals being debated in the Dáil, being backed by 36 TDs - RTE deemed this was not news; 
  • The fact that people had travelled mid-week from points north, south and east and west, also from Dublin itself, to be at the gates in Kildare Street - RTE deemed this was not news.

It wasn't just RTE of course. None of this got any mention in any national broadcaster, nor a headline in any national newspaper.

what have we learned this week, where do we go now?
We've turned the corner: 

  • From asking anyone in our own governing parties to do anything for us anymore - we know now they won't; 
  • From trying to persuade Fianna Fáil to support our cause because this week, on this Motion, they showed their true colours yet again, undermined our Motion with an Amendment of their own, a Motion which very deliberately took the spotlight away from the Promissory Note bonds; 
  • From trying to persuade our national media to be what they're supposed to be, the voice of the people, the questioners, the truth-revealers; 
  • Finally, we know now a hard truth - we know we'll have to achieve this ourselves.

Note that I don't say we'll have to do this on our own. Why? Because we have also learned - we are not on our own.

In our campaign to have this odious debt written off,  

  • We now have 36 elected TDs on our side - that's nearly 25% of the membership of the Dáil. Not just any old TDs either. Those speeches in favour of the Motion - the fire in the eyes, the passion in the voices, the heartfelt honesty in their words. Those TDs are the cream of the Dáil, and they are with us. 
  • We have each other, all the new friends we've made over the last few weeks in building to that evening in the Dáil, all the old friends with whom we've been working for the past months and years. 
  • We have our friends abroad, not just our fellow Irish who have been forced to emigrate in the past four and forty years but also our fellow citizens in EVERY country across Europe, on whom all our new masters in the banking and in the finance world would have THEIR rotten debts imposed. No, we are not on our own. 
  • We have our courage, we have our commitment, we have our determination that this fight ends when we decide it ends, and it ends only when we have had satisfaction on this odious bank-debt. 
  • And we have our own news network. We have Twitter, we have Facebook, we have YouTube. We can create our own lines of communication, we can spread our own word.

In his speech to us on Wednesday evening, referencing the government's baffling refusal to ever even ask for bank-debt writeoff, Luke Ming Flanagan said it was like being at a dance, fancying someone across the hall, yet never having the courage to ask if they'd like to take the floor with you.

Well, we HAVE asked RTE to cover this issue, we've asked TV3, Newstalk, Today FM, we've asked every national new outlet in the country. And time after time we've been rebuffed. Isn't it time we got the message, that they have decided that any popular dissent will not be covered? Isn't it time that instead of relying on them to spread our message, we do it ourselves?

Let's not waste our valuable time anymore on the traditional media. Boycott them, ignore them; 

  • If you follow any of them on Twitter, unfollow; 
  • If you are on their Facebook page, blank it; 
  • If you had been in the habit of tuning into their programmes on radio or TV, tune out; 
  • If you had been buying their newspapers, either weekly or daily, stop. 
  • They have decided to turn their backs on us, let’s do the same to them and just move on.
Even if they themselves seem to have forgotten it, we elected our TDs to be our servants, not our masters; even if they themselves seem to have forgotten, the media depends on us for their survival - we don't depend on them.

I propose now that we pause a few weeks and take stock; that we start that building from within. 

Don't feel in the least intimidated. We can do this, individually and in groups. We need neither a single gospel nor a single leader.

I've never been into hero-worship, never been into deification of any individual but neither have I ever been into the collective, into an entire nation speaking, thinking and acting along the same pre-determined lines. I long ago rejected religion for this very reason, embraced spiritualism and nature in its stead.

We don't need dogma, we don't need doctrine, we don't need anyone telling us how or what to think, when and why to act. We each have our own instincts and our own intelligence.

We can do this as independently minded independently thinking individuals; we can form groups of like-minded thinkers and act along common lines as we've done in Ballyhea but even there, the individual must not just be heard, the individual must be heeded.

Always, however, we've got to keep in mind the good of the community, that has to be our foundation, that has to be our focus. We’re in this as individuals but we’re not in it just for ourselves.

There IS a silent majority out there but we know - they are on our side. Our challenge over the coming months is to convert them to the vocal majority. Let's get to it.

Let's take that time now to build. The battle lines are long drawn in what is now a long war. On the one side are the few who command the world's finances and who would impose their debts and their demands on the many; we are the many, we are all together on the other side of that line. 

Let's have no more divisive talk of left and right; we speak only of right and wrong. No talk of sheeple, no negativity, no internal combustion, no tearing each other apart. Time to close ranks, come together; time to plan, to reorganise.

Then we'll see who has the last word on this.

Thank you,
Diarmuid O'Flynn.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


They’ve started singing it already, the new Coalition Chorus – Ireland is about to successfully exit the bailout! It's a lie, a false front being presented to the world. Here at home however we're only too familiar with the truth – far from exiting a bailout we're entering the fourth year of Ireland's bail-in, the fourth year of at least 40 years of debt-slavery to Europe.

There is a perception abroad that Ireland Inc. went crazy during what became known as the Celtic Tiger, that the country borrowed its way into trouble and we have now been 'bailed out' by the Troika.
A few facts:
  • Entering 2008 - Gross Government Debt €47bn, National Pension Reserve Fund €20bn;
  • Mar 2013 - Gross Government Debt €204bn; National Pension Reserve Fund €6bn;
  • Troika ‘bailout’ loans €62.5bn; Ireland's bank bailout cost (to date) €69.7bn;
  • Debt writeoff €0.
Begs a question then, doesn't it - just who bailed out who? 

The world is being duped and with this bank-debt burden on top of the crushing national debt on top of the mortgage crisis, with depression, emigration and suicide rising in every community, we're the fall-guys. This is our reality, as opposed to the Irish 'success' fantasy as told and sold worldwide by Enda Kenny.

The most odious part of the entire Irish bank-debt is the Promissory Note element, €31bn gifted by the ECB to two zombie banks (Anglo Irish and INBS) through its branch office in Dublin, the Central Bank of Ireland.

Despite the fact this was done to save the Eurozone, to save Europe's bigger banks, to save even the Euro itself, the Irish people have been landed with that entire bill, €31bn plus interest. The ECB 'allowed' the Irish Central Bank print that €31bn for those two banks, now they want that same €31bn taken back out of circulation. So we borrow, billion by billion, and we burn, billion by billion, til all €31bn is destroyed. In the meantime we're paying the interest on all those borrowed billions and then, we pay the capital.

In February of this year, to great fanfare, Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced a 'deal' on those Notes and since then every government spokesperson on every media outlet has attempted to give the impression that the remaining €25bn Promissory Notes are gone, finished, ended (we had already destroyed €6bn).

They are not. They have a new name, new home – they are now Sovereign Bonds, are held in the Central Bank and are about to be sold to possibly the very same bondholders who were bailed out by the original Promissory Notes €31bn in the first place - ah, irony. The one major difference? As though he wasn’t hammering the young hard enough, Minister Noonan has so arranged the Promissory Notes bonds payment schedule such that the bulk of it falls on future generations.

At 9pm next Wed, Nov 27th, the Dáil will vote on a Motion that will be proposed by the Technical Group (16 TDs with views and ideals ranging right across the political spectrum), calling for the full and final destruction of those Promissory Note bonds.

In Ballyhea we've been marching every week for 142 weeks with that as one of our prime goals. We're asking now that you
  • Ask any of your local TDs – regardless of Party – who hasn’t yet supported the Motion to do so;
  • Stand with us for just four hours at the Dáil on that evening, November 27th, from 6pm to 10pm, and add your voice outside to those arguing our case inside.


Diarmuid O'Flynn.

A link here to those TDs yet to support the Motion
A link here to the Facebook Event page for Nov 27th.

REPLY to a stock Gov't TD REPLY to a letter seeking support for TECH GROUP Nov 27th MOTION

Here is what you can expect as a reply from your local government Party TD, if you sent a letter/mail asking them to support the Technical Group Private Member's Motion of Nov 27th, the reply I got from Fine Gael TD Michael Creed's office:


Thank you for contacting me in relation to next week’s Private Members’ Motion.

As you know, in February of this year the Promissory Note deal saw the successful conclusion of lengthy discussions with the European Central Bank and the replacement of the IBRC (Anglo) Promissory Notes with more sustainable, longer term debt.

The State no longer has to pay €3.1bn every 31st March, the NTMA will have to borrow €20 billion less over the next 10 years and an improvement in our general government deficit is helping us get the deficit to below 3% by 2015. It is clear that the deal went a long way towards addressing the systemic liquidity issue in the Irish banking system, substantially improving the debt position of the State, while materially improving our ability to regain access to the bond markets and exit the Troika programme successfully.

I think it would simply be impossible for the Government to take the course of action proposed in this Private Members’ Motion—to “destroy” €25 billion of sovereign bonds and cancel interest payments and debt in their entirety. Blanket debt relief in relation to the Promissory Notes was never on the table and it is simply unrealistic to claim otherwise. Not repaying the promissory notes (or their replacement) would equate to monetary financing, which the ECB is constitutionally obligated to prohibit. The Government achieved the best it could have achieved at the time and the vast majority of commentators and most importantly, the markets, agree.

In any case, if Ireland took the PMB’s proposed course of action and decided not to repay these bonds, what message would that send out to the markets on whom we are depending to finance ourselves post-bailout? I imagine it would jeopardise the entire exit bailout strategy and force us into a second bailout.

It is important to note that the Promissory Notes arrangement is not in lieu of the EU leaders’ commitment given on 29th June 2012 to break the vicious cycle between banks and sovereign states. The Government is continuing to seek a comprehensive solution to the remaining structural and funding issues in our banking sector. In a letter to his EU counterparts last month, the Taoiseach stated that “It remains imperative, as we all agreed in June 2012, to break the “vicious circle” between bank and sovereign debts that forced Ireland into a Programme in 2010, at a time when there was a different consensus in Europe on the merits of “bailing in” creditors of failed banks.”

Yours sincerely

Michael Creed T.D.


Dear Jonathan,
Thank you for your reply to the mail I addressed to Michael.

‘As you know, in February of this year…’: As you well know (or should, if you were in the least familiar with the Ballyhea campaign), I know nothing of the sort, in fact I consider that deal to be as foul a deed as has been done by any Irish politician since the foundation of this State, the transposition of disputed debt to sovereign debt, then the transference of that debt to future generations;

‘The State no longer has to pay €3.1bn every 31st March, the NTMA will have to borrow €20 billion less over the next 10 years…’: You and your party have gotten away with peddling this half-truth to everyone else – not here. What of the full truth Jonathan? The State (which is us) eases things for itself over those ten years but the burden then falls on the next generation, and on the generation after, interest and principal which the economist Karl Whelan estimates will eventually add up to €72bn. Inter-generational debt is normal, I accept, but debt for loans taken out to benefit the people, not loans taken out to bail out zombie banks and their failed investors.

‘I think it would simply be impossible for the Government to take the course of action proposed in this Private Members’ Motion—to “destroy” €25 billion of sovereign bonds and cancel interest payments and debt in their entirety…’: That, Jonathan, is NOT the Motion, nor is there any suggestion of such unilateral action; the Motion is to ask the ECB to allow that destruction – a quantum difference.

‘Not repaying the promissory notes (or their replacement) would equate to monetary financing, which the ECB is constitutionally obligated to prohibit…’: Odd how you now run to cite the law when defending the right of the ECB to demand payment on those Promissory Notes; would you also cite the legal/constitutional obligations of the same ECB and its EU parent when those Promissory Notes were used to print that 31bn, the use of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance Fund, which is specifically prohibited from being used to bail out insolvent banks? In your eyes Jonathan, do the people have NO legal protection from having odious debt of this kind and of this size imposed on them?

The Government achieved the best it could have achieved at the time and the vast majority of commentators and most importantly, the markets, agree.’: This, to me, is the most telling point in this entire sorry reply – ‘and most importantly, the markets, agree…’. Yes Jonathan, to you and all those like you ‘the markets’ dictate, they are the new Gods, they are the ones who need to be appeased and we – the people – are the human sacrifices. The fact that it was those same market forces who got not just Ireland, not just Europe, but the whole world into this sorry mess is irrelevant. They must be appeased, they must not be challenged under any circumstances, they must not be called to account for the destruction caused by their greed, by their regular flouting of law and regulation.

‘…if Ireland took the PMB’s proposed course of action and decided not to repay these bonds, what message would that send out to the markets on whom we are depending to finance ourselves post-bailout?’: Jonathan, have you heard of Iceland? Burned those same bondholders, now back in those same markets of which you are so terrified. Money has neither memory nor conscience; the vampires will feed wherever they smell blood. By the way, when the Troika leaves we will be close, very close, to funding ourselves; the borrowings at that stage will be to pay debt and debt interest, including on the odious bank debt.

Jonathan, I knew I was wasting my time writing to Michael, I know I'm wasting my time again on this reply. You, your TD, his Party, have all chosen to side with the sharks as nation after nation across the globe is forced into debt slavery.

Sleep well but know this; the people are awakening, and they don’t like what they’re seeing.

Diarmuid O’Flynn
Apologies that the whole thing is so long but I have a suggestion; if they're going to send us stock replies, let's reply in kind - feel free to copy any of the above!