According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the total tax-take for Ireland in 2010 from the following sources was as follows:
Income Tax (incl. USC and Health & Income Levies): € 14.33bn
Corporation Tax: € 3.94bn
Capital Gains Tax: € 0.35bn
SUB-TOTAL: € 18.62bn
Add to that the following:
Motor tax, PRSI, Training & Employment Levy, Death duties etc: € 8.21bn
TOTAL TAX on income, wealth and capital: € 26.83bn
GIVING AWAY THE HOUSE
By the end of that same year the then Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, had issued Promissory Notes to the eventual total value of €31bn to two already insolvent banks, Anglo Irish Bank (€25.5bn) and INBS (€5.5bn).
In other words, in 2010 the Finance Minister took the entire tax take from every worker and every company in every industry in the country, plus death duties and other such sundry taxes, topped it up with over €4bn from our National Pension Reserve Fund, and gifted it to the failed creditors of two failed banks.
All the above was done without any reference to us, the people who are now landed with paying this debt; all the above was done without any real reference even to those we elected to represent us, across all parties and none; it wasn’t fast-tracked, it was railroaded through the Dáil.
HISTORIC JUDGEMENT BUT CURRENT PAIN
It’s important to note also that this isn’t just stale news. The €31bn that was created for those two insolvent banks by our Central Bank was of course never going to be paid back, a fact that was well known at the time.
The reason it was done was twofold: 1) The ECB had no structures in place to deal with insolvent banks (it does now, far too late for us), and 2) In the absence of such structures, it feared a domino effect if those two banks were allowed collapse, thus colluded with the Irish government and the Central Bank of Ireland to circumvent its own rule on bailing out insolvent banks and accepted the Promissory Notes as collateral.
That €31bn must now be taken back out of circulation by the Central Bank of Ireland. It’s being done in chunks.
Originally, starting in 2011, it was scheduled to occur before March 31st of every calendar year, and the new government did in fact destroy €3.1bn that year. Then came Michael Noonan’s infamous Promissory Note deal, in February 2012, when both Anglo and INBS (now the IBRC) were eventually and inevitably wound up, and with it a new schedule.
In 2014 our Central Bank destroyed €1bn, in 2015 it was €2bn, and so far this year, another €1bn. That means a total of at least €6bn has now been destroyed (I know, you’d expect that information of this magnitude and import would be broadcast loud and wide – it’s not), which leaves €25bn still to be taken out of circulation.
All that €31bn will be borrowed, all will be destroyed, all will have to be repaid – plus interest. Nothing Michael Noonan did in his ‘deal’ changed a syllable of that.
A LEGACY THAT HAD TO BE CHALLENGED
That is the legacy that Michael Noonan and his government partners are leaving our children, and their children. That is why Joan Collins took up David Hall’s court challenge to the legitimacy of those Promissory Notes, that is why yesterday was so important.
That the Supreme Court would decide, unanimously, that all this isn’t just legal, it’s constitutional, is alarming to put it very mildly.
Under this ruling, a sitting Minister of Finance can basically decide to place an unlimited amount of debt (€31bn just happens to be the total in this instance) on the people, not even a pretence at debate, no checks and balances, and that’s ok? This is democracy?
BALLYHEA SAYS NO
The Ballyhea Says No campaign has always been about trying to alert people to what’s happening, trying also to right the wrong done to us not just with the Promissory Notes but through the entire bank bailout debacle, the threats, bullying and blackmailing from Europe. Our focus has been on the political side, working hard to get politicians together from all parties and none who will then take this fight to Europe. We will continue that battle, but we will also continue those like Joan and David who take the legal route. Perhaps their next option is the European Court of Justice, but that will be for them to decide and I know already of one MEP at least who will join them in that exercise!
Whatever they decide, they will have our support. Meanwhile we continue our efforts to bring another Private Member’s Bill to the Dáil, while simultaneously preparing a Written Declaration in the European Parliament.
This battle is lost, but then again the 1916 Rising wasn’t exactly a victory either; look how that turned out. We persevere, spirits still high.