The following is the transcript of a few minutes from an interview conducted by Pat Kenny with Finance Minister Michael Noonan on RTE radio on February 8th 2013, a couple of days after Minister Noonan’s lauded Promissory Notes ‘deal’.
Pat Kenny: What changed, why did the ECB then change its mind about the whole principle of this which I think was described – Phillip Boucher Hayes reported from Frankfurt or he was talking to people from Frankfurt, they described it as 'barely legal'.
Michael Noonan: Well I don't think that's right, you see the legal people would say that the existing Promissory Note arrangement was totally contrary to, ah...
PK: Was illegal?
MN: Totally, you know, so any – I mean my argument all the time was...
PK: So it's an improvement in its legality?
MN: Yeah, I mean some of the bank people were saying to me 'Look, what you're saying is illegal'; I used to say to them 'It's an awful lot more legal than what you agreed three years ago!'
At this point they both had a little laugh, the Minister and his Minstrel Boy; that laugh was at our expense.
A question that simply screams out from the above exchange:
- When Michael Noonan admitted the original Promissory Notes arrangement was totally illegal, why didn’t Pat Kenny – the highest-paid broadcaster on RTE – not ask Minister Noonan why he hadn’t challenged that legality in court before transforming those Notes into sovereign bonds, effectively condemning generations of Irish people to 40 years of debt slavery? Hell, why didn’t Michael Noonan challenge the ECB, why didn’t he even ask the ECB for debt writeoff?
When the narrative of this entire sorry period in our history finally comes to be written, that little exchange above will loom large. To ease the budgetary pressure on his own government for the remainder of its tenure, Michael Noonan took a debt he believed totally illegal and rather than face down the ECB, shifted the entire debt burden, plus interest, to the shoulders of his own nation’s children and their children. And was lauded and applauded for it by those such as Pat Kenny above.
In Ballyhea and in Charleville, in Ratoath and a few other places around the country, we continue to protest, we continue to campaign, Sunday after Sunday. We can still reverse this. Join us, write your own piece of history.