Monday, 25 April 2011

On-line petition
In the decade of the so-called Celtic Tiger Irish banks borrowed billions, poured them into the property market, created a bubble of such enormity that when it burst, it destroyed the entire Irish economy, including the banks themselves.  When those who had been foolish enough and reckless enough to lend those billions to those banks came looking to cash in their bonds there was precious little left, at which point the normal rules of economics should have kicked in – the bondholders cut and run, negotiate their losses and move on to the next likely investment.
In September 2008 came the first intervention, a weak and ill-advised government panicked into a blanket bank guarantee; on November 28th 2010 the second intervention, that guarantee copper-fastened in a deal which will go down in history as one of the most dastardly deeds ever done in the name of the Irish people - under duress from the ECB, the then Irish Government signed a deal under which the private debts between the Irish banks and their various bondholders were transferred, in full, to the Irish people.
Immoral, unjust, unconscionable – this was all of that and more.  It was an unprecedented interference with the normal workings of the money markets, a decision that smacked more of empire than of community, a decision mandated by the ECB to protect the bondholders at the expense of the already seriously impacted Irish people.  Threatened with withdrawal of all support, the then Irish government was basically blackmailed into signing the deal; the Irish people were never consulted, were simply saddled with a debt they had never themselves accrued.
We petition now for this deal to be undone; we petition for those bondholders to be treated now as they should have been treated then, with whatever consequences they have to suffer; at the very least, we petition for a referendum on this deal, that the Irish people may themselves decide whether or not it’s acceptable that they should now be saddled with this debt.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

An Easter prayer for Ieland 2011

Where the Mind Is Without Fear
by Rabindranath Tagore

Where the heart is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by
          narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depths of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the
          dreary desert sands of dead habit 
Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening
          thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Your €25,000 present

YOUR €25,000 GIFT
So, you go into your local bank one Monday morning, finish discussions with the manager on your mounting financial problems, are just about to leave when he announces – ‘Oh yes, I’ve transferred €25,000 of debt from another man’s account over to you, €25,000 of that debt for your partner also, and as a bonus, a further €25,000 for each of your children; you have two kids, so that will be €100,000 in all – I’ll give you five years.  And by the way, because it now puts you in the high-risk category, you'll have to be charged additional interest on all of that debt.  Hope you don’t mind.’
Mad scenario, right?  If you're Irish, that - in essence - is exactly what was done to you by your own government on November 29th last year; you woke up to a debt you didn’t have when you went to bed on the night of the 28th.  €100bn is a conservative estimate of the bank/bondholder bailout; about 4m people in this proud Republic (I'm still proud anyway), that’s about €25,000 each. 
You're okay with that?  You're willing to assume a debt that was never yours, assume that debt also for each of your children?  You're willing to see that money paid to billionaire bondholders whose bonds would all otherwise have been treated as such failed bonds have always been treated in the cut-throat world of the money-markets?  You're happy to have the new dictators of Europe, the ECB, decree that you - regardless of how carefully you conducted your affairs through the last decade - should now have to pay €25,000, at the ECB’s penal interest rate, to these bondholders?
If you're not, if you've had enough of being told how this is YOUR fault, if you've had enough of being cut, cut, then cut again, if you believe in people-power - the ultimate form of democracy - then march with us. 

In Ballyhea this Sunday, April 24th 2011 at 10am, and every Sunday thereafter until we get that deal reversed, we walk.  Join us, join us, join us.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Renewing the Rising

Early on the morning of Easter Monday, April 24th 1916, in the cause of independence and in the face of what seemed insurmountable odds, a small group of men and women took their courage in their hands and challenged an old empire, the British Empire.
Early this Easter Sunday morning, April 24th, on the 95th anniversary of that auspicious day in Irish history, again in the cause of freedom and independence and again in the face of what seems insurmountable odds, a small group of men and women again take to the streets to challenge an empire, this time a new empire, the German/Franco Empire formerly known as the European Union.
In April 1916 and in the bloody years that followed, independence was won but it was hard won, many good lives lost before the old empire loosened its grip.
In November 2010 much of that freedom and independence was conceded, and softly conceded, an inept and feeble government bullied, browbeaten and blackmailed into accepting a deal which puts us firmly in the clutches of this new empire, and which could enslave this country for generations.
·     1) When the ECB came to Dublin last November they came with an agenda but it wasn’t to bail out Ireland – it was to bail out the German and French banks who are the holders of failed bonds not just in this country, but right across Europe.
2)·  2) When the ECB insisted that those bondholders would have to be paid in full they interfered in the natural order of the financial markets, they flew in the face of the most fundamental law of economics – bad investment means loss.
·     3) When the ECB went on to dictate to the then Irish government that this bondholder debt should be assumed – in full – by us, the Irish people, this wasn’t just an act of gross injustice, it was immoral, illegal, and unsustainable.
·         4) This additional yoke around our necks will break this country, and when that break comes (probably within three years), those bonds will all have been paid, that debt will be all our own, and we will be left with the worst possible scenario – sovereign default.
Our new masters came back to us last week, patted us on the heads for the fine job we’re doing in meeting their new guidelines.  They believe this is all over, headed back to Frankfurt content on a job well done.  In Ballyhea, we say no, we say never, and until such time as the message gets across, we will continue to say no, never.  This fight isn’t just ours, however, it’s yours, it’s everyone’s.  Take courage - join us, while there’s still time.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Gathering pace

We’re gathering pace, and though the protest hasn’t yet spread nationwide - confined to ourselves, Fermoy and Cork last weekend - the message is certainly getting out there.  Our local newspapers, The Vale Star and the Corkman, have been hugely supportive, as have been C103 and Live 95FM; two national newspapers – The Irish Times and The Daily Mail – have given it good exposure, and this week TV3, on the Morning Show with Cybil and Martin on Thursday last, gave the protest another boost.
With this increase in attention it’s important that here in Ballyhea, where it all started, we give it as much support as we can from now on.  There is a change in time and day this week, moved to this Saturday evening at 8.15pm – please make every effort you can to be there.  The march will take no longer than usual, ten minutes at most; the impact will last much longer.
Our focus hasn’t changed – we say No! to the bondholder bailout.  The ECB came to Dublin last November ostensibly to help bail out a floundering nation, but in reality they came with their own agenda, to bail out their own banks, their own bondholders.  A deal was done but it was a foul deal, a deal of financial enslavement, a yoke fashioned by the ECB and forced across the shoulders of the Irish people – we say no.
Two fundamental questions: Justify to us, the Irish people, why those whose billions fuelled the inferno that engulfed our economy and still rages out of control, have themselves not even been singed; justify to us, the Irish people, why we should have to assume, in full, the private debt accumulated by our banks to those bondholders.  For every reckless borrower there is a reckless lender – where is their pain?
Join us, this Saturday, 8.15pm, in Ballyhea, then again on the following Sunday morning, April 24th, 10am, on exactly the 95th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.  The freedom and national independence for which those men and women shed blood has been usurped, wrenched from us by the ECB; it is surely worth marching for now.

Monday, 11 April 2011

US economics experts condemn the bailout

The above is a link to an Irish Times article from last week.  I'm not the expert, these guys are, this is what they are saying.  Read what they have to say about the deal done last November - depressing reading.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Cork march - story of a hijacking

Went to the Cork march on Saturday last, their first, and no point in trying to sugar-coat this – it was a disaster. 
I had thought the intention was to have a non-political people’s protest, much like our own in Ballyhea, everyone united behind the single issue of separating the bank/bondholder debt from the sovereign debt, then treating that bondholder debt as it should have been treated from the start – a European problem.  What happened, however, was that a single political party, whom I won’t even bother to name, hijacked the parade and used it for their own purposes. 
They had their own broad banner which they attempted to force to the front of the march, bypassing several rows of protesters – I had words with the male banner-bearer, informed him that I wasn’t there to march under any party flag or banner, and he reluctantly dropped back.  Then there was their man on the megaphone, an adolescent leading his party aficionados in juvenile obscene chants – this as we were marching down a packed Patrick Street in mid-afternoon, people of all ages and persuasions looking on.  Eventually my daughter had a word with him and he dropped the obscenities but the damage was done, the impression created that far from being a mature and responsible protest, this was just another noisy and ragged parade.
En-route, and afterwards in the Grand Parade, that same party were on a recruiting drive, handing out their own propaganda pamphlets.  When it was over I had serious words with a few of their number, told them how I felt.  They denied that they had hijacked the parade – I argued otherwise.  No other party had brought its own banners, its own placards, its own flags, no other party was chanting its own slogan, no other party was on its own recruiting drive.  It wasn’t just selfish, it was myopic – this is a national issue, adversely affects us all, but what chance of uniting the nation on it with this attitude?
I repeat, this is a non-political campaign; party political banners are as out of place there as they would be in Thurles on May 29th for the Cork/Tipperary Munster championship match.  All those who marched on Saturday in Cork should be willing to march with the rest of us in protest at that dastardly deal done last November, shoulder to shoulder, marching as a nation united under just the one banner – NO TO BONDHOLDER BAILOUT.
I put this to the leader of that party unit in Cork but he wasn’t having any of it – this, he complained, would be centralising everyone.  Well, if we can’t unite on a single issue like this, what chance have we?  In fairness to the organisers – and I spoke briefly to Tom Dooley – this was not what they had had in mind; the protest was simply ripped from them by people who have far more experience of taking to the streets.  A pity.  Unless there are radical changes, I won’t be going back.
Regards, Diarmuid O'Flynn.