“Look, we had to recapitalise our banks!”, so declared Minister Simon Coveney on yet another national radio programme this week, and yet again a blatantly nonsensical statement was allowed go unchallenged. We had to Simon? We had to recapitalise Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide, we had to sink €31bn into two already dead, zombie banks?
Why? For what benefit to the Irish people? Would someone – anyone – in this government please explain that to me, explain it to the nation, explain it to the world? Would you then please explain why this government has now converted the very dubious Promissory Notes backing up that ‘recapitalisation’ into solid, sovereign bonds, bonds that enslave us for four decades at least as we are now forced to pay for loans we never took out?
This was the triumph trumpeted by Michael Noonan a few weeks ago, then taken up by our national media, again allowed go almost unchallenged. Michael’s explanation as to why he hadn’t asked for debt write-down? ‘The ECB has never granted debt write-down.’ Never Michael? The euro has been in existence since 1999, all of 14 years, the crisis has been there for a mere five. Never? Never, in only five years? Michael, everything the ECB has done so far in their bumbling efforts has been new and unprecedented for them, everything they’ve done has been something they never did before.
Making matters worse, even as all those billions were still being drained from Irish banks and from this economy, how many times in the last few miserable years have we been patted on the head and told we’re ‘special’? If we are so special, then surely we merited special treatment, surely we should have demanded special treatment, surely we should at least have asked for special treatment?
Yet Michael never did, never even asked ‘because it had never been granted’. And again, he has never been fully and properly challenged on this, that one-liner accepted as full and final explanation time after time from him and from every other government spokesperson, all the government cheerleaders spinning their web of lies and deceit, the truth kept from the people.
That €31bn, along with the tens of billions plundered from our National Pension Reserve Fund and the billions borrowed from the ECB’s emergency funds, is money coerced and extorted from the people by the ECB, an institution which, in threatening the weak government of one of its smallest constituent nations, went well beyond anything in its own remit. That is why, for over two years, we’ve been marching in protest in Ballyhea and now in Charleville, that is why we are now asking all of Ireland to join us in our new campaign, Ireland says NO!
This government has bowed to the power of the ECB, bowed to the power of the EU, bowed to the power of the Troika, bowed to the power of the banks, bowed to the power of the multinationals. Their own people, meanwhile, they treat with impunity and in imposing austerity cut on austerity tax they are fearless, snug in their belief that we are powerless. They are wrong. In this democratic republic power still rests with the people and we are coming.
This Saturday is visit one; we meet at the Dáil, 4pm, various protest groups coming from all over Ireland. The chambers will be empty, we know that, but this is symbolic – when it came to representing its own people over the last few critical years, this government and its predecessor has been marked absent. So, on this day, we come to our houses of parliament to represent ourselves. Heed us, this time.