THE QUESTION FINE GAEL WOULDN'T ANSWER
During the recent European elections a succession of Fine Gael candidates wouldn't answer the following simple question: what will happen to the €500,000,000 the Central Bank gets when it sells the first of the Promissory Note Sovereign Bonds later this year, is that money destroyed?
In a subsequent interview on Matt Cooper's popular drivetime Today FM programme, newly elected Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes likewise wouldn't give a straight reply to that question.
Even in the Dáil, responding to three separate Parliamentary Questions, Finance Minister Michael Noonan wouldn't reply. ‘The Central Bank is independent in the exercise of its functions and the management of its investment holdings is a matter for the bank itself. Neither I nor the Department of Finance have any role in those matters’ said Minister Noonan. Slightly bemusing, considering Michael was one of the primary architects of the deal that gave birth to those notes.
PATRICK HONOHAN GIVES US THE ANSWER
On Friday July 18th, a group comprising two members of the ‘Ballyhea/Charleville Says No’ campaign group (Fiona Fitzpatrick & Diarmuid O’Flynn), two MEPs (Luke Ming Flanagan & Nessa Childers) and two Independent TDs (Stephen Donnelly and Peter Mathews) met with Central Bank Governor Patrick Honohan and asked him directly that simple question. Governor Honohan’s answer was unequivocal – yes, the millions will be destroyed, or to use his own formal description, ‘extinguished’.
That’s just the beginning. Mr Honohan also confirmed that the €350,000,000 raised from the sale last year of portion of the 2012 bond has already been ‘extinguished’, as was the entire €3.1bn borrowed to pay off the 2011 Promissory Note, as will be another €500,000,000 next year, and another the year after – every euro in fact of the entire €25,000,000,000 thus raised in the coming years.
So now we have the answer.
NOT THOSE DAMNED PROMISSORY NOTES AGAIN!
For even the most hardened of media commentators the details of the original Promissory Notes, never mind the details of the subsequent conversion of the Promissory Notes to Sovereign Bonds ‘deal’, is a labyrinth, a hazy maze of dates and rates, a confusion of Notes, Bonds and most of all, massive numbers. For the rest of us?
Suffice to know this: to bail out the creditors (read major European banks) of two bust Irish banks (Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide) and thus save not just the European banking system but possibly the euro itself (a premise accepted by Mr Honohan at that meeting), during the next 40 years the Irish people will pay at least €70bn (when the 2011 & 2012 Notes are included), the bulk of which falls due in the final two decades. That’s over €15,000 for every man, woman and child in this republic.
Think of it like this: You go into your bank in the morning to be told “Here’s a loan of €250,000 to pay off a debt built up by an associate of yours, for which your solicitor signed you off as sole guarantor - I know, I know, he didn't consult with you but he is your appointed solicitor. I will now take every cent of that money and ‘extinguish it’ - you'll never get to spend a cent of it. But here also is your payment schedule. Don't worry, I've set it up to make it easy enough on yourself over the next few years; the bulk of the pain will be felt by your children and grandchildren, by which stage you and I will be long gone from the equation."
Would you accept that scenario? Multiply it by 100,000, that’s what Michael Noonan has done on our behalf, that is the legacy this generation leaves for the next. And that's just on the remaining €25bn of the Promissory Note debt. What cost the entire bank bailout?
LUKE MING NAILS IT, AS DOES PETER MATHEWS
“Since we never got to spend a cent of that money, and never will, I don’t care how low the interest rate is, I don’t care how long we’re given to pay – I'm not paying this debt!”; so said Luke Ming Flanagan to Minister Honohan.
“It’s simply ‘protection money’ to the ECB!” fumed Peter Mathews, a Chartered Accountant and former banker.
TAKING THE FIGHT TO EUROPE
If you're okay with that, do nothing – just don't get in the way of those who are doing something. If you're not okay with it, join the Ballyhea/Charleville campaign group (we march every Sunday morning, 10.30am), join Luke and Nessa, Stephen and Peter, join all eight MEPs now fighting our cause in Europe on these Promissory Notes bonds as we take this fight to the ECB in Frankfurt, our next port of call (Sinn Fein’s Liadh Ní Ríada, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy, along with Derry’s Martina Anderson, with the other two Independents in Europe, Marian Harkin and Brian Crowley, all stand with us).
Far from being too late, it has never been more urgent - we must stop the sale of those bonds, or we condemn future generations to debt slavery.
@ballyhea14 (Diarmuid O'Flynn)
@fb_fitz (Fiona Fitzpatrick)
Ballyhea bondholder bailout protest