â€œWe donâ€™t own this debt and we want it written down,â€ said William Oâ€™Connell from Lisronagh, the man responsible for a new weekly protest march against the bank bailout in Ireland, which takes place in Clonmel each Sunday.
Following in the footsteps of the community of Ballyhea/Charleville which celebrated its 100th protest march in January, for the same purpose, Mr Oâ€™Connell hopes that people in South Tipperray and perhaps further afield, will mobilise and take to the streets to show solidarity in opposing the bank bailout guarantee which burdens Irish people with the debts of unsecured bondholder.
In November 2010 the Irish Government signed a deal which essentially saw the private debts between the Irish banks and their various bondholders transferred to the Irish people. According to Mr. Oâ€™Connell the Irish Government has never sought a write down of this non-sovereign debt and he is demanding that this should happen.
A recent deal struck between the Irish Government and the European Central Bank (ECB) saw them approve the extension of repayment of this debt over 40 years, instead of 10.
But Mr Oâ€™Connell said that thid deal is not set in stone and that the ECB has merely â€˜notedâ€™ what the Government has decided to do, and a write off could still be requested.
â€œThese are loans the Irish people never took out, loans from which the Irish people never benefited â€“ the classic definition of odious debt.
â€œIn forcing those loans on us, the EU â€“ Germany and France particularly â€“ abused its political muscle, the ECB abused its financial muscle, and took advantage of a weak Government of a country in trouble. It was tantamount to blackmail â€“ pay these bank debts or weâ€™ll break your legs,â€ said Mr. Oâ€™Connell.
â€œThe result, as it stands, is that we have become debt slaves for 40 years, generations paying debt that was never ours. We are not remotely interested in â€˜improvedâ€™ terms and conditions, we want debt write-down, nothing less â€“ we want our country back,â€ he said.
On Saturday March 2, the united campaign of all towns and cities of Ireland against the bailout, became known as â€˜Ireland says no to Bank Bailoutâ€™ and Mr Oâ€™Connell is calling on local people to join in.
â€œWe ask all people of Clonmel and all citizens to stand up and demand this unjust debt to be written down, and march with us on Sundays.
â€œThe present Government in locking us into any type of arrangement only compounds the problem. Do we really want to raise our children to communicate with them through Skype in the future? said Mr. Oâ€™Connell.
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The march takes place every Sundau morning at 11am from the Showgrounds Shopping Centre Clonmel to Dunnes on the Davis Road and back lasting approximately 15 minutes