Clonmel says no to bank bailout!

A group of protestors gather at the Showgrounds in Clonmel each Sunday to protest against Ireland's bailout with the Troika. The letter printed here was submitted by protest organiser Will O'Connell, pictured above kneeling in front of main banner.
Old Barracks,

Old Barracks,



15th April 2013

Dear Sir,

Perusing your weekly edition, I look forward always to reading Margaret Rossiter’s column. Her very objective reasoned insights are always a refreshing and honest attempt at being the sometimes seemingly lone social conscious voice of the people locally and generally. I would like however to point out a correction in facts that was posted in last week’s edition of April 11th, Margaret referred to a small group of protesters assembled on the Davis Road protesting that “Clonmel objected to paying a property tax”.

It brings to mind the saying “what the eye see’s the mind believes”. However one could be forgiven for misinterpreting a sign as sometimes the minds central processing unit gets it incorrect in all of us, a current analogy doing the advertising round comes to mind “should have gone to Specsavers”. I in no way attempt to denigrate or undermine character far from it, I mention the captions above as an attempt to explain some fundamental points that I and our very committed group would hope you would print for the benefit of all.

The Banner and placards state that “Ireland says No to Bank Bailout” and “Clonmel says no to Bank Bailout”.

This protest against the bailout was begun by a small group in Ballyhea/Charlville in north cork. They are now protesting for over two years and these marches have sprung up in other centres around the country including Clonmel. We are all protesting specifically in relation to the Bailout which is no such thing; it is a loan with interest forced upon a weak government of a small country in trouble. Private debt of high stake gamblers in Irish banks who lost the race, our government then under duress by bully boy tactics from the ECB made this a debt of the citizens.

I may not have the exact figure but it roughly translates as a repayment of €14,000 per capita that is for every man, woman and child in this country. Money they never borrowed that never saw the light of day in the Irish economy but went directly to pay get rich quick gamblers their preferred title is neo-liberals. It appears when the neo-liberals bet and win they win and when they lose they also win.

When using the above caption we could also use “what the ear hears the mind believes” government half truths, untruths and downright lies about good deals for Ireland and the taxpayer. They nor the previous government at any point asked for any form of write down of this private debt.

Ah I hear some apologists say but the ECB in its history has never granted such concessions. Its history is less than 15 years it’s a teenager, if you don’t ask you can’t have an answer.

As a former teacher it was the one thing I always endeavoured to instil in my pupils “always ask and never accept my instruction if you don’t understand ask always the why. Our government never did this; not once, not ever.

So has our campaign achieved anything? Within the last two months Sharon Boles who is a Lib Dem MEP and Chair of the European and economic monetary affairs committee (ECON) a body that effects ECB monetary policy requested a meeting with none other than representatives of the Ballyhea/Charlville protest group. This meeting took place recently and Sharon Boles a no nonsense pro European speaker was surprised that the Irish government never sought or asked for any form of write-down as were the ECB.

They have now through Sharon Boles requested a meeting with Mario Draghi the ECB head, note here that this is politics of the people in action ordinary coping and some not circumventing the politicians and doing the job themselves properly.

Now this week we are to congratulate our political elite for getting us a probable extension of repayment terms to a loan that we never took out, nice one but “its a good deal for the taxpayer” it will allow us to re enter the markets, those same markets whose power and influence, wait! I’m getting lost with more neo-liberalism, the very policy of market capitalism and near total privatisation; no state involvement; forget John Maynard Keynes he never existed; the stock market crash of 1929-30 never happened and if It did then the markets know more now and this could never happen again!

Getting dizzy and confused I hear you say, me too.

I’m reminded of Casius Clay proclaiming to be “I’m the greatest” it was he alone that put that into the public consciousness both subjectively and subliminally.

It is happening in Ireland today through government policy spin and quite a sprinkling of inept national broadcasting and in the print media. There is little or no media coverage of what we and other protest marches are doing, but do them we will until politics again is of the people.

Also in this we are all guilty in taking our eye off the ball and allowing those once elected cart blanche to do as they pleased.

In Ireland today it appears that few people understand the figures, the deals, the spin, this in an age of unprecedented tools of communication, however most experience the consequences only when it befalls them. I cannot give comprehensive objective reasoning here to all issues currently being foisted on the Irish people as you will in no doubt be aware that most issues are overdetermined. However just to address one briefly.

Do the general public know what the infamous “Promissory Note” is all about?

Let me briefly explain.

Anglo Irish Seanie’s personal bank and INBS Michael’s personal bank that made Erin go broke lest anyone forget. These could not be let fail. Don’t bury the corpse its decay proof says the ECB. And it still owes the bondholders they must be paid €30.7 billion, think of distant galaxies in miles for an analogy. Then government shouts but we have no money,

Ah says the ECB no problem we authorise your central bank to print this figure and promise to give us €3.1 billion every year for 10 years taken out or the domestic revenues and cutbacks, care of the elderly, special needs, civil servents wages/pensions, stripping of national pension reserve fund, asset stripping, selling off of state assets, property tax, water rates (remember them) and a myriad of others. And when you have given us our yearly dose then you can burn an equilivent amount in the central bank thus reducing the amount to €27 odd billion and so on.

Contrary to government statements this payment was made last year further deflating the economy. Only problem is this year we hadn’t the reddies so we got another fantastic deal from the guess who?

No not the ECB the Irish Elites again decided to liquidate Anglo and guess what turn a promise of a lost bet to gamblers into guess what? A sovereign bond now compounding the mess we are already in and fully transferred onto Joe public and did the ECB rubberstamp this so called DEAL no they NOTED what the Irish Government had done pushing the extremities of its legality.

As soon as these bonds are sold onto the open market as directed by the ECB from then on they are fully on the Irish balance sheet. So now it is a race against time.

The above deals only with zombie banks. There is also another €40 or is it €45 (I’m punch drunk at this stage) odd billion (more galaxies) pumped into our other pillars. I’m thinking of Brandy right now and its only 9.10am on Monday morning.

Margaret’s article deals with the Sean Dunne’s of this world and the ugly side of what has happened to our beautiful country in the last decade and a half. She quite rightly outlines in simple language of economics the supply and demand side of commerce in product and services. We lost the plot but not the great coping classes those savvy enough bought into nothing just trying to offer our services and products in trying to eke out a decent living for ourselves and families.

The consequences outlined above and what’s coming at us is a much colder wind than that which Margaret outlines we were met on the bitingly cold Ester Sunday.

She is right and correct to state what she stated about rates and water charges and the abolition of same, political grandstanding and the ring fencing of these revenues to service local services.

Having reached my 50th year I well remember my grandparents on the Wood Road having to go to a well to get their water such an adventure for a young boy, no electricity just a gas wick “can I light it Gran”? Oh nostalgia for them simpler days.

To remember those times and how well in spirit and community those people lived in difficult times I can fully understand and appreciate the necessity of same in everyone’s interest again today “now there’s the word I’m looking for the return of “Interdependence”.

I am most fortunate to have had the physical and mental ability to be able to pursue running mountains most especially as well as marathons and woods as a way of life and still do to this day. Cold winds on winter days, any weather for that matter is no distraction as any seasoned runner will agree, it is a pleasure to share with Mother Nature.

Cabinetmaking being my craft another sharing of an appreciation of nature’s produce sadly this service is consigned to the dustbin of history but hey what has that got to do with it all. It’s the markets stupid.

Yours sincerely

Will O’Connell

Tel: 086 8587982.