On Sunday last we in the Ballyhea/Charleville Says No group marched for the 69th week in protest at the continuing bank bondholder bailout. In the march with us was 6-month-old Patrick O’Brien, brought along by his parents John and Clara, who in turn had been alerted to our protest by John’s parents Pat and Frances.
Patrick O'Brien, b. Jan 2nd 2012
On Monday Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) paid out two bonds which between them came to over €600,000,000; on Tuesday and Wednesday, Anglo pay out two bonds which between them come to over €500,000,000. Both those banks are zombie banks, now owned entirely by us, kept open for the single purpose of paying off bonds; all four of those bonds are unsecured, unguaranteed.
Here's what Michael Noonan said about the bank bailout in the Dáil just two months before becoming Minister for Finance: "The Minister for Finance (Brian Lenihan) reduced social welfare payments, punished the blind, disabled, widows, carers and the unemployed and he taxed the poorest at work, and for what? It was so that the taxpayer can take on liability for debts the country never incurred and arose from private arrangements between private institutions. What a disaster and an obscenity."
Here’s what the same Michael Noonan said a couple of months into his tenure as Minister for Finance, in an RTE interview in the US with Richard Downes: “I put my cards face up on the table, saying, ‘Look, it’s no longer a bank. Anglo is now merged with Irish Nationwide. It’s a warehouse for impaired assets. Its deposit base has been moved out into the pillar banks. And it doesn’t work as a bank anymore. You can’t put your money on deposit in Anglo Irish. You can’t get a loan from Anglo Irish. So the only thing that gives it the name of a bank is because it has a banking license. It needs the banking license to access the monies from the Central Bank. So I said that as far as I am concerned, this is not a real bank. This is a warehouse, and we need your assistance in dealing with the senior bond holders because we don’t think the Irish taxpayer should have to redeem what has become speculative investment.”
On Monday I was 59 which puts me in the same generation as Michael Noonan, Enda Kenny, Eamon Gilmore and Pat Rabbitte, the same generation as Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan of the previous government. I look at the legacy my generation is passing on to the generation of John and Clara O’Brien, to the generation of young Patrick O’Brien. And I am ashamed, ashamed and angered. Instead of confronting a problem that is of this generation – even if not fully created by ourselves – we have allowed ourselves to be blackmailed and bullied into a situation where we are now raising generations of debt-slaves and/or emigrants.
My own kids are aged 23 and 21 and the liklihood as of now is that for most of their working lives they will be paying off this massive bank debt, with interest. As things stand, and if you too are of this generation, this is our legacy to them, the result of the inept, incompetent and - worst of all - spineless governance by our own.
You CAN do something about it. With €30bn of Promissory Notes to be fought for, with €50bn in bank bonds yet to be paid, this war is far from over. Join us. March with us in Ballyhea and Charleville or start your own march. But protest, take a stand. Before it IS too late.
Regards, Diarmuid O'Flynn.