Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Keeping it going

TWITTER:          @ballyhea14
FACEBOOK PAGES:   Bondwatch; Ballyhea bondholder bailout protest
October 5th 2011

Our 32nd weekly protest march in Ballyhea coming up this Sunday (11.30am, meeting at the church) and we’re being asked – ‘How long more are ye going to keep up these protests?’ I don’t speak for anyone else among our regular group, nor for anyone in the Charleville group with whom we have joined forces for the past 17 weeks, but my own answer is this – for as long as this injustice perseveres, for as long as our banks with our money continue to pay in full these failed bonds, we’ll march in protest.

The origin of our protest is clear and simple. Over a period of several years, six privately owned Irish banks entered into financial agreements with a host of other banks, most of those European. Both parties entered into all those agreements with their eyes open, the lenders fully aware of the risks involved even if they were somewhat blinded by the potential profits. The banks ran into major difficulties, which put all those bonds in jeopardy. What should have happened next was a write-down on all those failed bank bonds, a haircut; what should NOT have happened was the transference of those debts to our shoulders, but with the ECB bully-boys getting their way in the in the misnamed ‘Bailout for Ireland’ of November 2010 (it was a bailout alright, a bank bondholder bailout, paid for by us), that was exactly what happened.

Today the ECB is still dictating terms to us, our banks are still ‘honouring’ those bonds, but with our money. €17bn was the latest ‘injection’ from our Pension Reserve funds to the banks, last July; in September, the banks paid €4.3bn in bonds, in 2012 another €20bn to be paid, €60bn to be paid over the next few years, before it all ends.

The scandal is on-going, so is our protest. Sure, we’d love if we had more support, we’d love if some national media organ took up our fight, we’d love if every other parish/village/town/city in the country took up the cudgel and focused in on this single issue, an issue that should unite us all across every political party and none, and pushing for that support does drive us on. But it’s not the source of the protest. That original wrong, that’s what started this, and until we right that wrong we’ll keep marching.

Yours sincerely,
Diarmuid O'Flynn.