Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Once upon a time there was a shiny new currency launched in Europe, the euro. Unfortunately however it was a flawed currency, structurally incomplete, no central control, the seeds of  its own destruction inbuilt.

Initially all seemed fine and money flooded from the wealthier nations to the poorer. Over time, as the increasing profits returned to those wealthy countries the flood became a tidal wave and the economies of several ‘borrower’ countries were swamped.

Increasingly it began to look as though all of Europe itself would be engulfed and in 2010 a plan was hatched; backed by Promissory Notes from its government, little Ireland – in the front line – would print an extra €31bn to give to two of its most toxic banks, Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide, who in turn would pass it on to its big-bank European creditors, thus staving off a much bigger crisis – probably the failure of the euro itself – were those two banks to fall.

The plan worked, the European banks were saved, and after more remedial measures taken in the following years, the new currency still survives.

What was Ireland’s reward for taking this stand? 

Now safe and secure in their castle in Brussels and notwithstanding their own gross negligence in the oversight of the new currency and the damage it was causing, the King of Europe and his Council decided that Ireland needed punishment for its lack of control over its own banks. So they insisted that Ireland now had to take that extra €31bn its Central Bank had printed back out of circulation.

Not alone did Ireland not have this money, it had a growing national debt so – naturally – there was outrage. Few were more eloquent in their condemnation of what the King of Europe and his bank in Frankfurt were asking than Michael Noonan, one of the leaders of the main opposition party in the national parliament and in February 2011 the Irish people revolted, threw out the existing government and replaced them with these new heroes, who promised to take Ireland’s fight to Europe.

After the very first engagement however this new Irish leadership lost its courage and in almost its first act of government, borrowed the €3bn first instalment of the €31bn Promissory Notes debt and promptly destroyed the money – that was March 31st 2011.

Since then they have compounded that act of cowardice with an act of betrayal, rearranging the Promissory Notes repayment structure such that the burden is lifted from themselves in the remaining years of their government, and transferred to future generations – 40 years of debt slavery for the remaining €28bn, the Promissory Notes now transposed to sovereign bonds that will ultimately cost us more than €70bn.

And we all lived happily ever after.

Okay, I made up the last line. Everything else is true.

This year our Central Bank is scheduled to sell the first of the Promissory Note bonds, €500m. What happens those five hundred million euro? Destroyed, taken out of circulation. Next year, another €500m – borrowed, destroyed. The same in 2016, 2017 and 2018. 

Then it gets worse.

Every year for the following five years, 2019/20/21/22/23, that figure doubles - €1,000m/yr, borrowed and destroyed.

Then it gets worse again. Eight further years, 2024-31 (inclusive), the Central Bank will take in €2,000m/yr, and destroy every penny.

In 2032 the borrowing and destruction ends, a €1,500m bond sold; that’s €25bn in all, to go with the €3bn bond from 2012 also currently held and awaiting sale by the Central Bank – a total of €28bn.

Immediately those bonds are sold we start paying interest on them, just under 3%/annum. Then, starting in 2038, whoever is in the Central Bank starts paying back the principal sums of those bonds until in 2053, the final payment - €5bn.

Debt-slaves to Europe, that’s our reward for bailing out those European big-bank creditors of two zombie banks, our reward for bailing out the euro.

We can stop it of course, if we have the will and the courage. Just as we are now showing our teeth on the water tax – one of far too many taxes and cuts imposed on us in the last five years, largely the result of the launch of this ill-designed currency – we can force a reversal of that Promissory Note ‘deal’ by Michael Noonan and demand the final destruction of those bonds now held by the Central Bank.

In Ballyhea and Charleville we’ve been campaigning against this injustice for over three years, joined since then by the likes of Ratoath and Dublin, a few small pebbles in the King’s shoe. Well, jack-boot, more like, boots that have been kicking us while we were down. Time we stood up, time we hit back.