Wednesday, 31 December 2014


STILLE NACHT – Christmas 1914
I'm reminded today of a song written by a good friend of mine, Cormac MacConnell, about an incident that happened 100 years ago, Christmas Day 1914, in what would come to be known as the First World War.

From a section of the miles of trenches that faced each other in the mud and blood of The Western Front came a voice, a German voice, singing Stille Nacht – Silent Night – and from that song came one of the most poignant moments of that terrible war, a ceasefire declared by the soldiers themselves.

One by one, tentatively at first but then in greater numbers, the soldiers emerged from the trenches and as they approached each other, bearing what little they had as gifts, they could have been approaching a mirror.

Because what they saw was themselves, the same people, the same miners, farmers, factory-workers coming from the same families with the same stories of subjugation, the same struggle for basic rights in their own countries, and not in fact the butchers and animals each had been led to believe of the other through their respective war propaganda machines.

A day later they were back to slaughtering each other with bomb, bullet, bayonet, and the High Command of both armies made sure such a meeting of minds wouldn’t happen again. And it didn’t.

Well there is another world war going, a global war, more and more of the world’s assets and wealth being concentrated in the hands of a few. Think about recent events in this country.

The imposition of the Property Tax;
The imposition of the Water Charge;
The Universal Social Charge;
The pillaging of billions from our National Pension Reserve Funds AND from people’s own private pension funds;
The imposition of the bank debt;
The myriad misery-inducing cuts to public services;
The gradual erosion of hard-won employment rights – on and on and on;
All adding up to the impoverishment of a nation and its people;
All adding up to decades of debt-slavery.
None of this is accidental, all of this is being facilitated by legislators

There is a different weapon being used in this global war. No longer is it bomb, bullet, bayonet; now it’s the law being used against us. Law is what enables this transfer of assets and wealth to the few at an accelerating rate, law is what disables our ability to fight back, our right to fight back, and as those laws are enacted, laws that enslave us to debt, we’re then told ‘YOU MUST OBEY - IT’S THE LAW! THIS IS A DEMOCRACY!’

But of course it’s not democracy, not here, not in the EU, not in the USA; in fact in most so-called democratic countries across the world now what we actually have is a mockery of democracy.

Greed is what rules in the world today, greed fed by money and profit. The Markets, the Too Big To Fail banks and global corporations, they are the ones in charge, they are the ones dictating policy to governments who then use their position to make the laws enforcing those diktats on the people.

It’s all too easily done of course. All you have to do is capture the key decision-makers, the primary legislators, and the rest – the secondary legislators, the back-benchers if you like – simply follow on, whipped into line.

Even the capture of the primary legislators is all too easy. There are two main methods – corruption and fear. Either the primary legislators are bought off – campaign contributions, benefit in kind, post-politics prime board positions, or simply cash – or they are terrified into agreement by threatened dire consequences if they don’t to as instructed.

The secondary legislators? We’ve seen for ourselves the circus our Dáil has become, the Laurel and Hardy act of Jerry Buttimer and Jim Daly when we in the Ballyhea campaign had a Private Member’s Bill introduced by the Technical Group in November 2013 for the government to just ask the ECB to allow the destruction of the Promissory Notes bonds. In what has become all-too-familiar from the government benches, Messrs Buttimer and Daly totally ignored the actual motion itself, proceeded to expound on matters that weren’t at all being proposed, then went on to use the privilege of the chamber to denigrate us, tittering away at their own juvenile jokes.  

We saw the circus to even greater effect on the night of the Promissory Notes ‘deal’, when Minister Michael Noonan landed future generations with debt they never incurred but debt we and they will be paying for the next 40 years, the drunken cavorting in the Dáil chamber as the people were sold out.

And we saw it again in the last few weeks in what – laughably – was presented as the Water Charge ‘debate’.

As for the propaganda war, it’s endemic, not just all around us but in among us.
In Europe we have German pitted against Greek, Irish pitted against German and so on – nationalism again being whipped up, raising its poisonous head.
We have white pitted against black against yellow against brown;
We have left and all its –isms turned on itself, then pitted against right;
We have Catholic pitted against Protestant against Jew against Muslim against Hindu;
We have native pitted against immigrant;
We have employed against unemployed;
We have private sector against public sector;
We even have man pitted against woman.

But if we turn and look at each other here today, if we look beneath the skin, as was the case 100 years ago on the Western Front all we still see is our own reflection. Because regardless of height, weight, colour, creed, gender, religion, we are all members of the same race – the human race.

We don’t all look the same, we don’t all think the same, we don’t all act the same but under the skin runs the same red blood, beats the same human heart.


But there are those few who would dehumanise us,
Those who would have us as mere chattel,
As worker bees slaving in their hives
And then at the other end,
As mindless consumers
Succumbing to the endless advertising from all their media outlets,
Promoting infinite growth in what is a finite world.
Who are they?
They are the same greedy few who 100 years ago sent those same men from nations right across Europe into those trenches to die in their millions;
They are the controllers.
Theirs today is still the propaganda of division and of  hate,
of fascism and of rampant nationalism;
They are the ones who would now again have us at each other’s throats.
THEY are the enemy.

So what do we do?

We unite. And we fight. We park all our petty differences – because petty they all are – and we fight. We fight to get those legislators who made those laws to change those laws. And if they don’t, we fight to change the legislators. 

In a true democracy, law reflects the will of the people; it is for the people, by the people. It is our will. In our own history though we know how law can be abused, how law HAS been abused not just to bypass the will of the people, but to subjugate. In our own history too however, we never gave up the fight to overturn those laws.

This time though, it’s got to be peaceful; just as those now still doing the oppressing have become more subtle in their actions, so too must we become more subtle in our campaign.

Go back to the propaganda machine we’re facing: 

We all saw how the government and its spinners portrayed the protests of the last few months, the demonising, the talk of sinister elements, the scare-mongering about the threat of violence, the deployment of the militarised elements of the Gardaí. We’ve seen also how the Gardaí have been deployed in the water meter protests, the attempt to drive a wedge between us.

But think back to 1914, to that Christmas. The gun fodder back then, the foot-soldiers – were they the sons of those who were ordering and directing that war? Were they hell.

Now ask yourself about the rank-and-file Gardaí – whose sons and daughters are they, whose brothers and sisters, whose fathers and mothers, whose cousins and friends? Are they the enemy?
So no, we don’t need violence on our streets, we don’t need destruction of property in our towns and cities. 

But we do need destruction;
Destruction of the kind of laws and policies that have led us to this,
Destruction of the kind of governance that has led us to this,
Demolition of this mockery of democracy. 

For that, we’re going to need be strong, we’re going to need to be steadfast, and we’re going to need to be stubborn. 

In this group, after 200 weeks on the march, I think we’ve already proved – we meet all those criteria.


Tuesday, 23 December 2014


When Michael Noonan announced his Promissory Notes ‘deal’ in February of last year it was hailed by our media as a triumph. ‘Promissory Notes destroyed!’ screamed the headlines; ‘€20bn saved over the next ten years!’

Big news indeed, but what our media didn’t tell us was even bigger. 

1) The Promissory Notes were indeed destroyed, the little bits of paper the ECB had accepted at their convenience to bail out the European big-bank creditors of two bust Irish banks, Anglo and Irish Nationwide; the Promissory Notes debt wasn’t, not a cent of it.

2) On the €20bn ‘saved’ over the next ten years – absolutely not true. If you buy an item that’s been reduced from €40 to €20, you have saved €20; if you alter a debt schedule so that you pay €20bn less in the next ten years but pay €60bn over the following 30 years, that is not ‘saving’ €20bn.

What Michael Noonan did was this; to take the pressure off his budget for the remaining years of this government from 2012 onwards (because had had actually pulled this same stunt for the 2012 Promissory Note – a practice run, if you like), he restructured the Promissory Notes payment schedule such that the burden of payment would be shifted from this generation to the next, and to the next. No more no less. 

It was betrayal, not just on a national level but on a human level – what parent, rather than challenging ‘totally’ illegal debt (Michael Noonan’s own description of the Promissory Notes), debt he had previously eloquently and forcefully rejected and simply to make life easier for themselves, passes the burden of payment to their own children and grandchildren? Under the terms of this deal, that is what Michael Noonan has done but not just on his own behalf – on behalf of us all. Thanks to Michael Noonan, that is the legacy of this generation of Irish people to the next.

There was something else we weren’t told, either by Michael Noonan or by our media, something of even greater import.

The money raised from the sale of the new Promissory Notes bonds, all €28bn of it (including the €3bn from the 2012 bond) is destroyed, every cent of it. Why? Why is a broke, massively-indebted small nation destroying the equivalent of the entire tax intake for 2010, the year the Promissory Notes were issued? Because the ECB, who facilitated the original issuance of those notes (feared contagion across Europe if any bank in the EuroZone was allowed fail), is insisting that the entire €31bn printed that year by the Central Bank of Ireland and given directly to the two bust banks to bail out their creditors, must now be taken back out of circulation. By us.

And it has started.

Buried in the back end of a report from RTE yesterday, Tuesday December 22nd, an early Christmas present for the nation. Again, as has become so typical for the official spinner of government half-truths, it wasn’t so much what was said, it was what was left unsaid.

‘Separately, the NTMA has announced the cancellation of €500m worth of bonds relating to the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation. The Irish Floating Rate Treasury Bond was issued as part of an arrangement that saw the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note replaced with new debt. Its issuance was part of the process that has ultimately led to IBRC’s liquidation. Today the NTMA purchased €500m worth of the bond - which was due to mature in mid-2038 - from the Central Bank. It said the cancellation of this amount will leave €1.5bn worth of the bond outstanding.’

Reading the above, would you have any idea that this country has just borrowed and destroyed €500m, dwarfing what’s going to be raised from the ill-fated (it will fall) Water Tax? But we have. ‘Cancellation’, that’s what the RTE report says; ‘destruction’, that’s what it means.

But there’s more – it's a triple-whammy. As soon as that €500m was received by Patrick Honahan in the Central Bank on Tuesday:

  1. It was destroyed 
  2. We start paying interest on it 
  3. In 2038 the new bondholder (wouldn’t it be some irony if it’s one of the same bondholders we bailed out back in 2010???) will come looking for the entire €500m principal to be repaid.

The €500m borrowed/burned on Tue is just the start of the new Noonan P Note bond schedule.

  • 2014-18 (incl - five years): €500m/yr borrowed/burned
  • 2019- 23 (incl - five years): €1,000m/yr borrowed/burned
  • 2024- 31 (incl - eight years): €2,000m/yr borrowed/burned
  • 2032: €1,500m borrowed/burned
  • Meanwhile, €3bn bond from 2012 also sold, those billions also destroyed. 
  • And all the while, as the bonds are sold the debt-clock ticks faster and faster, the interest increasing, the debt-burden piling up. Over the next 40 years, on the entire €31bn, we won't have any change from €80bn. Some legacy.

No matter how you read it, it’s obscene.

In Ballyhea we’ve been protesting this for nearly four years, joined now every week in their own places in that protest by Charleville, Ratoath, Dublin. This coming Sunday, December 28th, is our 200th week. If this has angered you enough, if you have the time and the inclination, you're welcome to join us in Ballyhea – 11.30am, at the church car-park.

Regards, Diarmuid O'Flynn.

Saturday, 20 December 2014


These are pivotal times in history, not just in Ireland but worldwide. 

Global wealth/assets/production/power has long been in the hands of a few but the disparity between controllers and controlled is widening at an alarming rate – for proof, read this New Scientistarticle from October 2011: Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world. And no, it’s not the 1% - it’s the 0.001%.

However, in nation after nation across the world the fight-back has started.

Privatisation of water is one battle in this global wealth-war and here in Ireland it’s been waged now for several months. Given its history since it came to office in March 2011 (kow-towing to the financial sector, to big industry, bowing to the will of our bully-boy ‘partners’ of the EU/EC/ECB), we knew this battle would be lost in the Dáil, where the Gang of Four (Kenny/Noonan/Burton/Howlin) exercise total control over the massive nodding-head majority they whip and control.

The Senate though kept our hopes alive, the Senate Mr Kenny had gone on a solo-run to try to abolish, the Senate we had retained so they could act as our protectors in the event of a dictating despotic government that had lost the confidence of the people (in his opening sentence in the recent Dáil Vote of Confidence in himself and his government, Enda gave us the clue to his thinking – ‘When we came to POWER…’; and here were we, thinking we had elected him and them to office, to SERVE).

    Those Senators who were pivotal in the voting through of the Irish Water Bill used three major reasons for voting with the government – all are transparently false.  
  1. The plebiscite offers certainty that Irish Water won’t be privatised unless with the approval of the people. Utter nonsense; ONLY the Constitution offers that certainty – any government can change any law any time it chooses, plus, the result of any plebiscite is for any government to implement/ignore as it chooses; 
  2. The new charge is affordable. It is if you're a single multi-millionaire with a year-round indoor pool, perhaps a pitch-sized lawn you like to keep watered in summer and a vintage car or ten you like to keep in pristine condition; it’s most certainly not if you're one of the multitude of people struggling just to keep your head above water, without now being charged a second time for it;  
  3. The new charge is fixed. Right –why continue to install meters if the ultimate intention isn’t to charge for usage? And with the ultimate aim also that the charge must cover the cost of production/new infrastructure/fat salaries & bonuses of execs, the average household charge would have to be around €800 (simple maths). What happens then? In will ride the White Knight offering to take this white elephant off the hands of the government. And we’ll all live thirstily ever after.
Again the people have been sold out, on this occasion by the aptly-christened Endapendents, for the price of a safe Senate seat and a silver salary. 

Is this the end? No, absolutely not, because ultimately the real power rests with neither the Dáil nor the Senate. It rests with us, the people. We should know, we must know now – it has finally come down to ourselves, and what we do next in this particular battle could well be decisive. Don’t be bullied. Don’t be misled. Above all, don’t be afraid. This isn’t just a battle worth winning, it’s a battle that can be won, it’s a battle that simply MUST be won.

Diarmuid O'Flynn.