Co. Cork

November 29th 2012


Dear Sir or Madam;

On the eve of yet another Austerity Budget it’s timely to ask – what if we hadn’t bailed out the banks? Would we be better off, would we be worse off?

I could dazzle you with numbers at this stage, the €115bn in bonds that our failed banks have paid out since the ill-advised blanket bank guarantee of September 2008 (and let’s not bother here with the equally ill-advised circumstances in which that guarantee was given), the €69.7bn we have pumped into our banks (including the oft overlooked €5.5bn NAMA donation), which translates to over €15,200 of debt for every resident of this state –  man, woman and child.

I could point to the ironic symmetry that’s developing and ask two very pertinent questions.

First, the €12.4bn in austerity budget cuts/taxes over the years 2012/13/14/15 (3.8+3.5+3.1+2), the €12.4bn total in Promissory Notes over the same period (3.1×4) – for whose benefit all this austerity?

Second, the €67.5bn in loans promised by the Troika of IMF/EU/ECB under the Memorandum of Enslavement of November 2010, against the above-mentioned €69.7bn we’ve given to the banks – who bailed out who?

Then you look at the unemployment figures, the notional official number of just under 15%, the real number of over 17% when the various ‘schemes’ are taken into account.

Finally, the emigration numbers, the 7,000 who left every month for the last 12 months, the misery they left behind.

All these thing we can measure and already, looking at the numbers above, you must wonder – given that we still don’t have a functioning banking system, given also that so many of those at the top within that banking system who got us into this mess are still there and still drawing massive salaries, who in God’s name thinks the bank bailout has been worth all of that?

This is about more than numbers, however. There is one element that’s always overlooked, an element unquantifiable. What price our freedom, what price our independence, what price the soul of a nation?

We have swapped one Empire for another, one form of serfdom for another. What was being done from Dublin Castle is now being done from Leinster House, a new set of Agents collecting tithes for our new Masters. This government has repeated ad nauseum its ambition to say goodbye to the Troika but that same Troika will leave with a smile on its face. Why? Because they will have achieved what they came to achieve (in particular the EU/ECB duo)  – they have made us a nation of debt slaves.

Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, now Fine Gael and Labour, they have signed away our soul, they have become the new Overseers, collecting and forwarding the 30 pieces of silver.

What have we done? What cost to a nation’s reputation? The Fighting Irish? The Proud Irish? The Indomitable Irish? I was at a an international debt conference in Brussels last week  with nearly 20 countries represented – when I outlined the numbers above there was almost universal bemusement that a government would accept such abasement of its own people.

We are not a meek people, we are not a weak people. As evidenced by the fact that earlier this year nearly a million homeowners willingly and voluntarily criminalised themselves by refusing to register for the Household Charge, evidenced further by the number of protests of various kinds across the nation, there is massive and growing anger. Rather than belittling and berating those who thus take a stand this government would be well advised to be aware of that anger, and to beware. A reckoning is coming.

This is week 92 of the Ballyhea and Charleville protest against that bank bailout – it’s time you all joined us. Every week we march, in Charleville this Sunday (Library Plaza 11.30am). We refuse to become debt slaves, paying for loans we never took out, loans from which we never benefited. We are not looking for better terms and conditions on those loans, we want to shatter the shackles of serfdom, beginning with the weakest link, the Promissory Notes – burn them, now. Time to reclaim our soul my friends, time to reclaim our ancient fighting spirit.

Regards, Diarmuid O’Flynn