Thursday, 11 December 2014

GOVERNMENT DERIDING THE PEOPLE

For nearly 200 weeks, every week since March 6th 2011, the Ballyhea Says No campaign group has held a weekly peaceful dignified protest match. 

Two years ago, in 2012, over a period of several months and in multiple venues across the country, hundreds of thousands marched in peaceful protest against the introduction of the Household Charge and despite intense government media-spun pressure,  nearly a million homeowners risked self-incrimination by refusing to register by the March 31st deadline. 

In October, November and on Tue December 10th this week, hundreds of thousands of people again took to the streets, again in peaceful and good-humored protest, on this occasion against the imposition of water charges and the transparent effort at privatisation of Irish Water. 

On those occasions we've been ignored (Ballyhea), undermined (Revenue brought in to act as the collection service), demonised (water protesters), but always, our anger and our numbers underestimated, our protests derided, belittled. 

The government, with their small army of spinners in the various departments and embedded in the media, are making a grievous and potentially dangerous mistake.

If they won't listen to reasonable people making reasonable arguments in a reasonable manner, they risk - nay, they invite - extreme people making extreme demands in extreme ways. 

Slowly but surely, by their arrogance they are raising the levels of anger among people across every level of Irish society.

I ask this government now, I ask those embedded Dáil media; listen to the people, please, for all our sakes. 

Regards, 
Diarmuid O'Flynn. 

NATIONAL WATER PROTEST Dec 10th 2012 - SPEECH TEXT

A catch-cry of Michael Noonan and of this government is that they must balance the books.

Michael, we agree, we too want to see the books balanced.

We want to see this government stop legislating to protect the interests of the greedy at the cost of the needy.

We want to see this government stop legislating to protect the interests of the vampires who operate from the tax haven that is the IFSC and who, through various nefarious tax-avoidance scams, gorge on the lifeblood of the people, not just in this state but worldwide.

We want you to further stop legislating to protect the interests of the vultures, those who then come in to feed on the carcass of what’s left, those for example to whom you sold off for a song the distressed mortgages of so many thousands of Irish homeowners, without giving them even the option to bid on those mortgages themselves;

Balance those books Michael, and when you have that done…

Just as you and others here and in Europe were able to introduce legislation that impoverishes this nation in this generation, that enslaves future generations to the EU and its debt-collection heavies of the ECB, we want ye now to reverse that legislation and set us free, allow us prosper.

Balance all THOSE books Michael.

We want to see you and this government reverse all the shameful life-shrinking cuts you have imposed over the last three and a half years on those who can least afford them, and instead spread that load across those who CAN most afford them, people like yourselves inside those gates on salaries and pensions far in excess of the value of what you're doing, far in excess of what most parliamentarians in even the biggest states receive.

Balance THAT book Michael.

We want to see you reverse every underhand forced-through law you introduced to set up Irish Water; we want to see it disbanded completely, an immediate end to the meter installation and the money thus saved ploughed into repairing the infrastructure.

And please don’t insult our intelligence by pretending the cost is now set in stone, the public ownership is now ‘enshrined’ in law. To our cost, to our crippling cost, we know only too well how quickly law can be changed or even enacted to enable government do its dastardly deeds. ONLY through a referendum will we see our right enshrined in our constitution because to change it, you then have to come back to the people.

So Michael, balance that book, and truly make water a permanent asset of the people.

There are so many other books that also need balancing, some that affect us all, such as the giveaway of our oil and gas, some that affect only a few, such as the medical card issue, the transport issue for the disabled – the full list would keep me here for a considerable time.

But the one on which the Ballyhea group has been campaigning now for nearly 200 weeks, the issue on which we were joined by Charleville, by Ratoath and Dublin who now also hold their own weekly march, the issue that is probably the greatest single travesty of all, is the issue on which your books are most seriously imbalanced.

I'm talking of the bank-bailout, that sell-out of the people to the vampires and vultures – and yes, I know there are also solid financial institutions investing on behalf of hundreds of millions of solid citizens around the world in there, bailed out by us. But it should not have happened, and most certainly not on the scale in which it DID happen.

€69.7bn, that was the ultimate capital cost to us of bailing out our banks – that amounts to over €15,000 for every woman, man and child among us.

Were we ever consulted on any of that? Yes, in a way, when Fine Gael and Labour promised before the last general election that they would take care of us, that they would ensure burden-sharing – Labour’s Way or Frankfurt’s Way.

Transpires that Labour’s Way WAS Frankfurt’s Way, and still is. Instead of taking our fight to Europe, they brought Europe’s fight to us.

Nowhere was this more evident than in Michael Noonan’s Promissory Notes deal.

I won’t go into detail; suffice to say that at this very moment and as a direct legacy of that deal, there are sovereign bonds to the value of €28bn, that’s €28,000m, sitting below in the Central Bank, awaiting sale. As soon as they’re sold, those billions are destroyed, every cent; as soon as they’re sold also, we start paying interest on them and then, starting in 2038 and ending in 2053, we start paying back the principal.

Think about that – a broke, seriously indebted small country, forced to borrow billions to burn. And for what? To pay for the bailout of the European big-bank creditors of two bust Irish banks, Anglo and Irish Nationwide.

The cost? In interest and principal, over the next 40 years we won’t get much change from €80bn – that’s an average of around €2bn a year, to go with the €1.6bn we’re already paying in bank-debt related interest, plus the €1bn a year we’re losing in interest on the €20bn plundered for the banks from our National Pension Reserve Fund.

That’s why we campaign in Ballyhea, Charleville, Ratoath, Dublin, that’s why, on December 28th, the last Sunday of the year, we’ll be having our 200th weekly protest march – you're all invited, by the way.

We can stop the sale of those bonds, we MUST stop the sale of those bonds; if we don’t, we ourselves are complicit in condemning future generations to debt slavery.

To finish:

Normally when we gather in these numbers up from the country in Dublin, even when Dubliners themselves gather in these numbers, it’s across the river in Croke Park. Normally also on the last Sunday of every season, someone will call for three cheers for the losers. I can't do that this evening, because so many of those who have lost are not here.

People like Jonathan Corrie, who died in a doorway almost on the doorsteps of the Dáil, for want of a roof over his head;

People like the thousands who have taken their own lives over the last seven crushing years, not because they craved death but because they couldn’t take any more of what those inside these gates were throwing at them;

People like the hundreds of thousands who have left, leaving behind them broken hearts in broken families in broken communities;

People like ourselves, all of us gathered here this miserable, glorious winter’s day to let our feelings be known – nearly 100 years after the 1916 Rising, we are not going to swap one Empire for another, one kind of servitude for another.

So no, no three cheers. But, in recognition of the next campaign that lies before us, I will call for three chants, just three, each rising in intensity so those in there really get the message; it’s this:

BURN THE BONDS, NOT THE BILLIONS!

BURN THE BONDS, NOT THE BILLIONS!

BURN THE BONDS, NOT THE BILLIONS!

From Ballyhea, thank you, and we’ll see ye on the 28th.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

€280m v €28,000m - THE MEDIA OMERTA



It’s baffling, truly baffling.

Today our media discusses the outrage over the possible (and this is still not locked in) payment of €280m to junior bondholders in the two wound-up banks – Anglo and Irish Nationwide – that were combined to form IBRC.

Meanwhile, there is absolute silence from the same media on the scheduled definite destruction over the coming years of €28bn, legacy debt from the same two banks.

That destruction begins in 2014, continues until 2032;  under the schedule, €28bn in sovereign bonds  that replaced the old Promissory Notes (remember Noonan’s widely hailed ‘deal’ of February 2013?) will be sold by the Central Bank, then those borrowed billions destroyed, every cent – that’s 100 times the amount causing so much outrage at the moment.

The destruction of those billions is only half the story, however; immediately each of those bonds is sold and the money thus raised destroyed, for the full lifetime of each of those bonds we pay interest to the new bondholder (rubbing salt in the wound, perhaps it will even be one of those same bondholders bailed out by us in the first place). 

In 2038 the bonds start ‘maturing’, meaning the new bondholders – thanking us I'm sure for the interest we’ve paid – now come looking for the principal back.

In 2053 we have the scheduled final payment, €5bn – if we can afford it even then. The possibility exists that we won’t, that the debt will be rolled over, meaning we’re not just debt-slaves for the next 40 years, but that this could go on into perpetuity. And for what? To bail out back in 2010 the failed European big-bank bondholders and creditors of two bust Irish banks.

How much will it all eventually cost? The €28bn in sovereign bonds now about to be sold and destroyed is in the ha’penny place – between interest and principal over the next 40 years, that €28bn, along with the €3bn paid in 2011, is going to cost us at least €80bn, an average of over €2bn/yr. And that in itself is less than half the full story of the Irish bank bailout (the full figure is €69.7bn)!

I suppose when you read it like that, written down in black-and-white, the fact our media is absolutely silent on it is understandable. If the people are reacting as they are now to the water-charge attempted robbery, how would they react if they were fully aware of this?

Regards,
Diarmuid O'Flynn.

A SCREEN GRAB OF MINISTER NOONAN'S PARLIAMENTERY QUESTION REPLY
TO PEARSE DOHERTY (SINN FEIN) IN EARLY 2013

Monday, 1 December 2014

AFTER IRISH WATER, WHAT NEXT?



A BIGGER TRAVESTY THAN IRISH WATER
My friends, those hundreds of thousands of you on the streets for the past several weeks protesting the lies and spin surrounding the setting up of Irish Water; we have holed this company below the waterline and it is sinking, fast.

When we're done with this righteous cause, however, there is another even bigger, even more outrageous wrong that awaits your anger, that awaits your resolution – big and outrageous enough to blow the doors off anything you've known so far.

It is the ongoing cost of the bailout of Irish banks, of the bailout of the most toxic of all those banks particularly - Anglo Irish Bank. This government and its spinning media would love you all to believe that the bank-debt is a dead story, a done deal, dead and buried. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I'm not just talking about the estimated €1.6bn we’ll be paying in bank-debt interest this year (and growing).

A BROKE COUNTRY BORROWING BILLIONS TO DESTROY – THE NEW NOONAN SCHEDULE
As a result of the Michael Noonan Promissory Notes ‘deal’ of February 2013, before this year is over the Governor of the Irish Central Bank, Patrick Honahan, will sell a sovereign bond of €500m. What happens to that money?

Immediately the bond is sold we start paying interest on that €500m; immediately also, however, Patrick will press a button in his high office in the Central Bank and destroy that €500m, every cent.

But that’s not the end of it. 

In 2038, the bondholder who loaned us those hundreds of millions will come a-calling to whoever is then Governor of the Central Bank, thanking us for the 24 years of interest payments and now looking for the principal to be paid, the €500m.

Kind of mind-boggling, isn’t it, almost unimaginable? Just think of all the cuts and stealth taxes that have been imposed over the last seven years, just think of what we could do with that €500m. But we destroy it.

Anglo Irish Bank has now been wound up, which should have happened back in 2010 when those Promissory Notes were first issued. The EU authorities, however, the European Commission (EC) and the European Central Bank (ECB) especially, feared contagion and the possible collapse of much bigger European banks if that were allowed happen, so in collusion with the then Irish government they kept those bank doors open, looped the loop through their own rules and allowed the Irish Central Bank print €31.9bn to bail out the creditors of Anglo (€25.3bn) and to a lesser extent Irish Nationwide Building Society (€5.3bn) and EBS (a 'mere' €0.25bn)

Now the ECB is insisting that the Irish Central Bank must take that entire €31.9bn back out of circulation. We don’t have it of course – as a nation we’re not just broke, we’re over €200bn in debt – so we have to borrow it.

Thus the bonds, thus the billions being taken in, thus the destruction of those billions to satisfy the ECB, thus the interest being paid by the coming generations of Irish people, thus the principal having to be repaid decades hence.
 
Billions? Yes, billions, because that €500m bond is just the first of a litany of shame. Not our shame – Michael Noonan’s shame, the shame of all who voted into existence this 40-yr debt burden, four decades of debt-slavery for the Irish people.

THE ROLL OF DISHONOUR
This year, we borrow and destroy €500m, as described above; next year, 2015, same again - €500m bond sold, those hundreds of millions immediately destroyed, interest immediately being paid to the new bondholder, then in 2038, that bondholder coming back for the full €500m.

That’s a billion euro borrowed and destroyed, yet it’s only the start.

PLEASE STAY WITH THIS, PLEASE READ AND ABSORB, BECAUSE THE FOLLOWING FEW SHORT PARAGRAPHS DON’T JUST DWARF ALL THAT’S HAPPENING TO US, IT UNDERLINES IT, IT DEFINES IT.

For five years, and following the schedule set out in the Noonan deal, every year from 2014 to 2018 (incl) the Central Bank will sell a bond of €500m, then destroy that money;

For a further five years, again per the Noonan schedule, every year from 2019 to 2023 (incl) the Central Bank will sell a bond of €1,000m (that’s a billion a year), then destroy that money;

For a further eight years, still per Noonan schedule, every year from 2024 to 2031 (incl) the Central Bank will sell a bond of €2,000m (that’s right – two billion a year), then destroy that money.

Finally, in 2032 the last of those Promissory Notes bonds is sold, €1,500m taken in and destroyed, a total of €25,000m - €25bn, to go with the €3bn already being held ready for sale from the 2012 Promissory Note deal.

This is fact, every word, on the public record. Who told us? None other than Patrick Honahan himself, though he did follow up by trying to explain that the money he’s ‘extinguishing’ isn’t real; the interest we’ll be paying though is real, very real, as is the interest we're paying right now; the billions in principal that will be paid is real, though Patrick himself will be long gone from the Central Bank by that stage of course.

SPINNERS OF LIES, WEAVERS OF HALF-TRUTHS
You were told the Promissory Notes are ‘gone’ and the 'savings of €20bn over the next ten years' have been loudly and regularly trumpeted, even to this day.

You were NOT told that that the €25bn Promissory Notes debt still remained, every cent;

You were NOT told that Michael Noonan’s ‘deal’ was just a refinancing job, that what he did was lift the burden off his own government for the remaining years of their term (2012/13/14/15/16) and through the new payment schedule, transfer it to the shoulders of future generations;

You were NOT told that the €20bn of ‘savings’ over the next ten years would become over €60bn of payments in the following 30 years. All told, expect the original €32bn bailout of the European big-bank creditors of Anglo/Irish Nationwide/EBS to cost us upwards of €80bn in the next 40 years, an average of around €2bn per year.

If you're a parent, would you do that? Would you take a very arguable debt (totally illegal, Noonan himself admitted on national radio just days after his ‘deal’) and rather than confront the money-lender on it, take out another loan for the full amount but set up the repayment schedule such that the bulk of the burden would be lifted from yourself and transferred to your kids and to their kids? Because that is the legacy Michael Noonan is leaving our kids on our behalf – debt-slavery to the EU.

BURN THE BONDS, NOT THE BILLIONS
Unless we do as we’ve done for the water charge, unless we take to the streets and demand an end to it, demand that those bonds are not sold, demand that this Promissory Notes debt should NOT be imposed on the Irish people, not on this generation, not on any generation, then we are party to it.

We can stop it, we MUST stop it. In Ballyhea, as of today, Monday December 1st 2014,  we’ve been marching for 196 weeks against this injustice. Even as we try to force this government into a full climb-down on the inequitable water charge, I implore you all – please turn your attention also to this.
Those bonds must be must not be sold, those billions must not be destroyed, else, like Michael Noonan and all those who voted to impose this coward legacy, we too will have sold out our own children.


December 28th 2014, that will be week 200 of Ballyhea Says No, long supported now by Charleville Says No. Join us, make it a big one.


Sunday, 2 November 2014

IRISH WATER - MYTHBUSTING

1) It’s about conservation. With 42% wastage in the delivery system, if conservation is the primary focus then upgrading the infrastructure should have been done before a single meter was installed. 
2) Where would we get the money to upgrade those pipes? Let Michael Noonan make the short trip from Kildare St to Dame St, and have a chat with Central Bank Governor Patrick Honahan; this year, a legacy of Noonan’s Promissory Note ‘deal’ and the bailout of the European big-bank creditors of Anglo Irish Bank (yes, that’s still very much a ‘live’ issue), Patrick takes in and then destroys a full €500m, will take in and destroy a full €28bn over the next decade and more, destruction which will cost the people of this country an average of nearly €2bn/yr for the next 40 years. Burn those bonds, not the billions, and rather than continuing to pay for this now-dead bank, invest those billions in the country.
3) It’s about discouraging/punishing those who run taps/wash cars daily/water gardens weekly. To discourage the few, you legislate to punish the entire population, imposing a charge on everyone? Yeah, right.


4) If there isn’t a dedicated tax/charge to pay for water supply, government will have to impose an extra 4% on higher income tax rate. We already pay for water supply through general taxation, affirmed by Minister Simon Coveney, so perhaps Finance Minister Noonan would explain what the extra taxation is for, where it’s really going?

5) Farmers/businesses already pay for water. That’s commercial use, this proposed tax is for private homes, where those same business owners enjoy the same usage as everyone else.

6) Water is merely another utility like gas and electricity, should be charged for on the same basis. You can survive without gas or electricity, difficult though this would be; you will not survive without water, a fact recognised by the UN and the EU and a right thus enshrined.

7) If you don’t register/pay, you can be cut off. You can’t – see point 6 above.

8) Irish Water is a public company, can’t be privatised. Irish Water is a private company; though all shares are currently held by the government  and this public ownership is protected in law, that same law can be changed overnight and the company sold before we awaken in the morning (let no-one be under any illusion of who quickly this can happen – think ‘blanket bank guarantee’…).

9) You are legally obliged to apply to Irish Water (the pack is an Application, not a simple registration). No you're not, confirmed time and again by a variety of legal experts.

10) Water doesn’t just fall from the sky. Look, we’ll just leave it at that! 

The fact is, this isn't about a government acting responsibly to ensure a top-grade service to the public, this is a government which has long chosen to enable/protect the interests of the vultures over the interests of the people, is doing exactly that again here. Nearly €2bn in bank-debt interest to be paid this year (and rising), that ongoing infusion is our lifeblood.

This weekend again, in their hundreds of thousands, the people have spoken and the message is clear. No 'extend & pretend' measures, disband Irish Water. Enough.

Meanwhile, we in the Ballyhea and Charleville will maintain our campaign on the bigger issue and when everyone else is ready...

Regards,
Diarmuid O'Flynn.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

THE PROMISSORY NOTE BONDS IN ONE SENTENCE



Ok, so in 2010, in collusion with the ECB, the Irish government wrote Promissory Notes backing the printing of €31bn to bail out the European big-bank creditors of two zombie Irish banks, Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide, a dodgy act but it served its purpose, prevented the possible collapse of those massive banks in Europe, possibly saved the euro itself; however, the EU/EC/ECB is now insisting the books must be balanced and is calling in the Promissory Notes, so Ireland must take that €31bn back out of circulation – in other words, broke we may be, in debt up to and over our tonsils, but we must beg/steal/borrow, okay borrow, that €31bn and destroy every cent of it, then the burden of paying the interest on those borrowings, the burden of eventually paying back the entire €31bn principal, well, that’s Ireland’s, isn’t it, and if anyone tries to say otherwise we’ll crush ye.

PROMISSORY NOTE BONDS – A EUROPEAN FAIRY-TALE



Once upon a time there was a shiny new currency launched in Europe, the euro. Unfortunately however it was a flawed currency, structurally incomplete, no central control, the seeds of  its own destruction inbuilt.

Initially all seemed fine and money flooded from the wealthier nations to the poorer. Over time, as the increasing profits returned to those wealthy countries the flood became a tidal wave and the economies of several ‘borrower’ countries were swamped.

Increasingly it began to look as though all of Europe itself would be engulfed and in 2010 a plan was hatched; backed by Promissory Notes from its government, little Ireland – in the front line – would print an extra €31bn to give to two of its most toxic banks, Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide, who in turn would pass it on to its big-bank European creditors, thus staving off a much bigger crisis – probably the failure of the euro itself – were those two banks to fall.

The plan worked, the European banks were saved, and after more remedial measures taken in the following years, the new currency still survives.

HURRAH, SAVED!
What was Ireland’s reward for taking this stand? 

Now safe and secure in their castle in Brussels and notwithstanding their own gross negligence in the oversight of the new currency and the damage it was causing, the King of Europe and his Council decided that Ireland needed punishment for its lack of control over its own banks. So they insisted that Ireland now had to take that extra €31bn its Central Bank had printed back out of circulation.

Not alone did Ireland not have this money, it had a growing national debt so – naturally – there was outrage. Few were more eloquent in their condemnation of what the King of Europe and his bank in Frankfurt were asking than Michael Noonan, one of the leaders of the main opposition party in the national parliament and in February 2011 the Irish people revolted, threw out the existing government and replaced them with these new heroes, who promised to take Ireland’s fight to Europe.

After the very first engagement however this new Irish leadership lost its courage and in almost its first act of government, borrowed the €3bn first instalment of the €31bn Promissory Notes debt and promptly destroyed the money – that was March 31st 2011.

Since then they have compounded that act of cowardice with an act of betrayal, rearranging the Promissory Notes repayment structure such that the burden is lifted from themselves in the remaining years of their government, and transferred to future generations – 40 years of debt slavery for the remaining €28bn, the Promissory Notes now transposed to sovereign bonds that will ultimately cost us more than €70bn.

And we all lived happily ever after.

MAYBE NOT…
Okay, I made up the last line. Everything else is true.

This year our Central Bank is scheduled to sell the first of the Promissory Note bonds, €500m. What happens those five hundred million euro? Destroyed, taken out of circulation. Next year, another €500m – borrowed, destroyed. The same in 2016, 2017 and 2018. 

Then it gets worse.

Every year for the following five years, 2019/20/21/22/23, that figure doubles - €1,000m/yr, borrowed and destroyed.

Then it gets worse again. Eight further years, 2024-31 (inclusive), the Central Bank will take in €2,000m/yr, and destroy every penny.

In 2032 the borrowing and destruction ends, a €1,500m bond sold; that’s €25bn in all, to go with the €3bn bond from 2012 also currently held and awaiting sale by the Central Bank – a total of €28bn.

Immediately those bonds are sold we start paying interest on them, just under 3%/annum. Then, starting in 2038, whoever is in the Central Bank starts paying back the principal sums of those bonds until in 2053, the final payment - €5bn.

Debt-slaves to Europe, that’s our reward for bailing out those European big-bank creditors of two zombie banks, our reward for bailing out the euro.

TOO LATE? DON’T BELIEVE THEM!
We can stop it of course, if we have the will and the courage. Just as we are now showing our teeth on the water tax – one of far too many taxes and cuts imposed on us in the last five years, largely the result of the launch of this ill-designed currency – we can force a reversal of that Promissory Note ‘deal’ by Michael Noonan and demand the final destruction of those bonds now held by the Central Bank.

In Ballyhea and Charleville we’ve been campaigning against this injustice for over three years, joined since then by the likes of Ratoath and Dublin, a few small pebbles in the King’s shoe. Well, jack-boot, more like, boots that have been kicking us while we were down. Time we stood up, time we hit back.