Despite these recessionary times successive Irish governments under instruction from the ECB have undertaken to pay back the bondholders of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide €31bn of private speculative debt over ten years. That's €3.1bn from Irish taxpayers every year on the 31st March. On the evening of the 30th March this year Michael Noonan entered the Dail and made a statement about this year's payment. What he seemed to say was that the payment would be deferred using a long-term government bond. It was hailed as a success for the government. In fact the only success was for the highly paid PR advisors who managed to convince most people that something was true when in fact it wasn't. The money was paid in full and on time the next day. The video below gives some of the background to this scam.


Stephen Donnelly, the TD for Wicklow and EastCarlow, has an interesting article on the debt issue in today's Sunday Independent. In it he quotes Michael Noonan whilst in opposition addressing the then finance minister Brian Lenihan: "The Minister for Finance (Brian Lenihan) reduced social welfare payments, punished the blind, disabled, widows, carers and the unemployed and he taxed the poorest at work, and for what? It was so that the taxpayer can take on liability for debts the country never incurred and arose from private arrangements between private institutions. What a disaster and an obscenity."


Michael Noonan was right first time around. Taking on the debts of wealthy financial institutions abroad at the expense of poor and vulnerable people in our own country is a disaster and an obsenity and it needs to stop. Not only because of the human misery entailed in denying support to those who need it but also because of the built-in incentivisation in such a policy for these same large financial institutions to do exactly the same thing again in the future. And why wouldn't they? They can't loose. The poor and vulnerable have so far always be there to pick up the tab for them.


The original article is available here.


(This is an edited version of an article in Village Magazine by Mark Malone & Andy Storey from Anglo: Not Our Debt with which Partners in Faith is aligned.)

Michael Noonan could have “walked on water across the Liffey” to the recent Fine Gael Árd Fheis. That was the view of one political commentator on RTÉ, following the “miracle” the Finance Minister had performed in relation to the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note, due for payment that day. This opinion was typical of mainstream media interpretation of the “deal” announced by Noonan.


In reality, the deal was a mirage, not a miracle. The Department of Finance, it is true, did not write out a cheque to the Irish Central Bank on March 31st. However, NAMA did. And who owns NAMA? That’s right, we do. So Ireland did pay the bill, in full and on time. We simply paid it out of one of our accounts rather than another. In the film Scarface, Al Pacino’s gangster responds to a rival’s pleas for mercy by saying, “Don’t worry, Frank, I’m not going to kill you”, then turns to a henchman and says “Manolo, kill this piece of shit”. Frank still ends up dead. We still ended up paying the money.

A community group in Granard, Co.Longford (pictured left at a protest) led by the local parish priest Fr.Simon Cadam have challenged NAMA to do what it was set up to do and "contribute to the social and economic development of the State" section 2, NAMA Act. The group wants NAMA to sell the 15 acres of land, known locally as The Motte Field to the group for development as an Interpretative Centre which they say will employ 10. The issue highlights the issue of placing property price speculation above the needs of the community.


Link: NAMA Seeks Best Price For Granard Land - Longford Leader


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