Sunday, 31 July 2011

Bread n' Water

TWITTER:          @ballyhea14
FACEBOOK PAGES:   Bondwatch; Ballyhea bondholder bailout protest
July 31st 2011
This is to announce that in an escalation of the Ballyhea Bondholder Bailout Protest, from midnight tonight, Sunday July 31st, I will be going on a bread-and-water fast, initially for seven days, to be reviewed next Sunday.  The choice of bread and water is symbolic, the penal condition to which the ECB will have us reduced should we continue on the present penal course of redeeming in full all the current failed bank bonds, as directed by them.
I would like to stress, our protest is not against the government, neither this version nor the one preceding; our protest is aimed at Frankfurt and the ECB.  Their hammer, we’re warned, is poised over our heads, ready to apply the fatal blow to our fragile economy if we dare attempt to do to the bank bondholders what should have been done right from the start – give them the haircut that is their due.
Our own leadership is non-existent.  Just eight months ago Fine Gael and Labour deputies, led by Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore, were heaping derision on Fianna Fáil and the Greens, castigating the deal done with the troika (IMF/EU/ECB), with not a single government deputy voting against the deal – there was even talk of treason, of traitorous behaviour; now we have the spectacle of Fine Gael and Labour - still led by Kenny and Gilmore - implementing the most heinous aspect of that ‘agreement’, the payment of those failed private bank bonds.  The boot is now very much on the other foot but the same situation pertains – not a single deputy from either government party standing against this sell-out of the Irish people.  Looking after number one, not a conscience, not a principle, between the lot of them.  And they wonder why people are so cynical about our politicians?  No point in protesting to them, when they have already so obviously submitted to the jack-booted will of the ECB. 
This is a solo decision, not even my family consulted; it is also a one-man protest.  Because of the demands of my job it can’t be held I public – Irish Open today, Croke Park next Sunday for the All-Ireland semi-final, prep-work between now and then for the Examiner.  I will, however, try to have as much of it as I can in Ballyhea, if I can arrange for temporary shelter!
If past efforts to throw the spotlight on what’s happening to us are any indication - the hundreds of millions being paid out month after month on these failed bonds even as Hospital services are cut, Special Needs Education reduced, fuel/phone/electricity subsidies for the elderly and the poor diminished – this escalation will register not a whisper, alter matters not a whit.  But I’ve tried everything else I can think of, am now at my wit’s end.
Yours sincerely,
Diarmuid O'Flynn.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Coming-of-age - our 21st Protest March, and we're stepping up

TWITTER: @ballyhea14
FACEBOOK PAGES: Bondwatch; Ballyhea bondholder bailout protest

July 25th 2011 - coming-of-age, our 21st march and stepping it up

It’s said that one sign of lunacy is to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. I suppose what we’ve been trying to do in Ballyhea for the last five months and more, and now in Charleville for the last six weeks, could be described as madness, trying not just to mobilise an entire country but to influence almost an entire continent. We do learn, however, and so it is that last Sunday’s march in Ballyhea against the continued obscenity that is the bondholder bailout was simultaneously our coming of age – our 21st weekly march – and our final Sunday morning protest.

So, have we given up, have we lost our mojo? Not a bit of it; in fact far from quitting, we’re stepping up our campaign. No more off-peak protests, no more going out of our way to avoid disruption to anyone; as of this week we will be joining forces with our neighbours in Charleville and alternating our protest marches at 5pm every Friday in the two centres, alternating from week to week, deliberately timed to bring more attention to what’s happening in this country on a weekly basis with NO publicity, namely the regular payment of the failed private bank-to-bank bonds as their ‘maturity’ date comes up.

In fact not alone are we not getting the full news from any of our mainstream media, the news we are getting is either false or fanciful.

That great negotiating ‘victory’ by Enda and the lads last week? Nonsense – that summit happened ONLY because Italy and Spain were being dragged into the crisis, and because Greece was on the brink.
‘Negotiators’? While Sarkozy and Merkel were meeting the previous day to thrash out the details of the deal, including our fate, our Taoiseach didn’t think it worth his while to meet the leadership of any of the other countries on the periphery. Ireland had a real opportunity here, could have stood with Portugal and demanded that whatever deal was offered to Greece should also be offered to us or there would be no deal at all, a situation neither Sarkozy nor Merkel could have contemplated – they didn’t even meet.

And the numbers involved, varying from an annual boost of €800m ‘saved’ (Irish Times and Indo) to €1bn (Irish Examiner)? Again, nonsense – IF we draw down all the monies offered by all the various parties in the original agreement of last November to whom this might apply (€40bn from Europe, €5bn bilateral loans), and IF all those parties agree to extend the new terms (as looks likely now), and IF it’s backdated to take account of money already drawn down (€15bn) then yes, we might ‘save’ that billion.

What’s NOT being reported with the same blaring headlines however is the offsetting effect of the increased baseline ECB lending rate, as applied to the current (and growing) debt to Europe; what’s NOT being reported are the bonds being paid week after week, the massive annual borrowing needed to meet those payments (€7bn this year, €20bn in 2012, €17bn in 2013 – work out the growing interest repayments on those sums), even as cuts and closures are being announced.

A proposed household tax of €100 per family home? Factor in the costs of administering this charge and it will generate about €150m; this Friday, July 29th, and with our money, EBS will pay to an unnamed bank/financial institution a failed unsecured bond of €40m – that’s about the total take from Munster and part of Connacht of the proposed property tax.

Here, among this group in Ballyhea and Charleville, we believe that’s wrong, we believe it must be protested. In Greece, in France, in Spain, when the people are being abused in the way we’re being abused they take to the streets – in Ireland we take to the boat and the plane. Well, not us, not anymore, and even if we’re the only ones in Ireland protesting then so be it, but we’re not going away.

     Brollies up but spirits never dampened – the 21st protest march
Yours sincerely,
Diarmuid O'Flynn.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Dirty Dozen - w/e July 24th

The last six bonds paid, the next six in line.
PLEASE NOTE: This is but a small section taken from the full list, which is available elsewhere on this blog.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Current bonds paid & imminent w/e July 17th

The first two columns are the columns most pertinent - date of maturity, bond amount in euro. The other columns contain details of the individual bonds. The bonds shaded in yellow are paid, in red are imminent, in blue are coming down the track, fast.

Please let me know what can be done to make this clearer - thanks.

Individual Bonds list

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

19th protest in Ballyhea - now we go to town

TWITTER:          @ballyhea14
FACEBOOK PAGE:    Ballyhea bondholder bailout protest

July 11th 2011

‘Doing more with less’ has become the glib catch-cry of our new government; ‘Doing less with less’ would be a far more accurate and a far more honest slogan.  Services cuts across the country, individual schools everywhere losing Special Needs Assistants, vacancies not being filled – this is more?

Already this week we’ve seen the closure of the A&E department in Roscommon Hospital, safety concerns the front but saving money the real reason; in November Mallow will follow, and there will be more, almost every hospital in the country over budget and being ordered to cut back, not another cent available.  Those cuts are all the result of Budget 2011; the next Budget will look for another €4m in ‘savings’ - where do you think those ‘savings’ will come from?

Meanwhile, month on month, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, are being paid to bondholding banks in France and Germany, to financial institutions in Britain and the USA, a total of €7bn this year alone – that’s €7,000,000,000, a lot of noughts after that seven, but next year even that is dwarfed, €20,000,000,000 falling due.  Those billions are being borrowed, at penal interest rates, from the ECB, that interest taken from our national coffers every year.

It’s not just cuts either; the government has stated that there will be no increase in income tax, no cuts in welfare payments – in light of the number of broken promises already, does anyone now believe that?  Regardless, we’ll have water charges, property charges, any other charge they can think of, and the extra money thus raised will not go towards services, it will go towards paying off the penal interest on the ECB loans.

Our General Government Debt (GGD) at the end of 2010 was €148.6bn, the interest on which will cost us about €7bn this year; about half of that is due to the bondholder bailout borrowings.  Before we’re done we’re due to pay another €64bn in bonds over the next few years to various German/French/British/American banks and financial institutions, all of which will have to be borrowed from that same ECB, all at those penal interest rates.  How many more hospital closures? How much more contraction can our already hard-pressed education system endure?  How many more reduced services across the board?

There are protests now on-going against the hospital closures, worthy protests, but wasted protests – as long as we’re paying those billions to bail out the bondholders the money is simply not there for our hospitals, our schools, our other essential services.  Our protest, everyone’s protest, should be against that bailout – protest the cause, not the symptoms.

In Ballyhea we’re entering our 20th week of protest, in neighbouring Charleville, their fifth; this Friday, 5pm, we join forces and march down Main Street, Charleville.  Please, see the bigger picture – join us, start your own regular weekly ‘No! to Bondholder Bailout’ protest march in your own community.  For details on the how and the why, Google ‘thechatteringmagpie14 blog’.
Ellen (Ryan) Copps and Eileen Mackessy on the front line - Ballyhea 19th

Yours sincerely,
Diarmuid O'Flynn.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Out of the morass - 18th protest march

TWITTER:          @ballyhea14
FACEBOOK PAGE:    Ballyhea bondholder bailout protest
July 6th 2011

If we’re to regain our national financial sovereignty, says our Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, we should all stop complaining and accept the cuts already implemented, the cuts still to come.  But, Mr. Gilmore, what about cutting ourselves loose from the bank/bondholder debt?  What about asking them to accept their own pain, rather than further burdening us with it?  How much of our money is leaving this country every week to pay off the failed investments of those bondholders, money that could go to our hospitals, our schools?
To those who are protesting over the threatened closure of various hospitals, the threatened reduction in services; to those schools who protest at the loss of Special Needs Assistants, realise this – until such time as the bondholders are made to suffer their own pain, ALL other protests are in vain, quite simply because the money isn’t there.  As a nation we were already haemorrhaging money with a serious budget deficit, and closing that deficit was always going to be painful, but in their demand, under threat, that we also assume the bank/bondholder debt, we are being bled dry by the ECB.

Kevin O’Keeffe and Tilly English lead out the 18th Ballyhea Protest March
Resist, because we must.  In Ballyhea this Sunday, at 10.30am, our 19th protest march, in Charleville at 11.30am, their 3rd.  Join us please – freeing ourselves of that yoke is our only way out of this morass.

Yours sincerely,
Diarmuid O'Flynn.