The Banking Inquiry – Ballyhea Says kNOw

by Diarmuid O Flynn

A couple of weeks ago Ballyhea Says No led a delegation that included two TDs (Joan Collins and Catherine Murphy) and an MEP (Marian Harkin) to meet new Central Bank Governor Phillip Lane. We outlined for Mr Lane why, after almost a full five years, the Ballyhea campaign still persists, marches every week. We explained that we believed the crisis began years earlier than the Blanket Bank Guarantee of September 2008, that the root cause was the launch of a flawed euro currency.

From the start the euro lacked even the most basic architecture for dealing with a crisis, no structures in place to deal with troubled banks, no central oversight and corrective mechanisms to deal with the torrent of capital inflow we witnessed here in Ireland. When the crisis hit Europe we were one of the first in line and as a result, we were burdened with a totally disproportionate share of the subsequent debt, a debt that should have been shared across the eurozone.

None of this was disputed by Mr Lane; in fact he went so far as to say that there would now be little argument in the EU with this summation.
Why then was this not part of the Inquiry? The real question here, surely, is what economic currency genius decided that the euro could be launched as it was. The destruction of the economies of such as Ireland, Spain, Greece etc were foreseen and foretold by many – why was it not foreseen by those in Brussels and in Frankfurt? Or WAS it foreseen and the decision taken to launch anyway?

The Irish government should never have been placed in the position it faced in 2008, and as for the ‘powers’ of the Regulator and the Central Bank – can you imagine the Federal Reserve in the US putting the fate of the dollar in the hands of officials of South Dakota? That is where any Inquiry into this crisis should have begun.

There will be much national wailing and gnashing of teeth in the coming days over the ‘lost’ €9.1bn, the tame surrender of Michael Noonan to the bullying/blackmailing Jean Claude Trichet, but to what end? Despite the protestations of such as ourselves in Ballyhea, that money is gone, was paid out to those bondholders, yet that will be the focus of much of the coverage.

Meanwhile, not even a whisper about the fact that the Central Bank last year destroyed €2bn, in 2014 destroyed €1bn, in 2011 over €3bn, and that Mr Lane is still holding bonds to the value of nearly €25bn awaiting the same fate, all the legacy of the €31bn Promissory Note bailout of the creditors of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society.

This is what we in the Ballyhea campaign group are desperately trying to expose and prevent, the ongoing sale and destruction of the remaining €25bn, a legacy to future generations of debt slavery to Europe; this is why we persist, this is why we see little or no value in that flawed Inquiry.

The sale of those Promissory Note bonds and the subsequent destruction of the billions is what we should be focused on, what we can do NOW to prevent even more debt being forced on the next generation and the generation after. Otherwise we face the prospect that a decade hence another Inquiry will find that we could have and should have saved ourselves all of that €31bn. This government surrendered without even an argument, never mind a fight; we won’t.


Diarmuid O’Flynn.
086 2752664


Co Cork.
January 31st 2016

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