A Fork In The Road – Ballyhea Weekly March Ends

This coming Sunday, March 6th 2016, marks the exact 5th anniversary of the first Ballyhea Says No protest march against the imposition of the odious bank-debt on the people of Ireland, March 6th 2011. Just as that was the first Sunday after the election of a new Dáil, this is the first Sunday after another general election.

A full five years, a full Dáil cycle, a circle closed. So it is with this phase of the Ballyhea campaign.

As a group we believe the weekly march has served its purpose, as a group we have decided to end that phase and focus our energies now on building the campaign politically and in the media.

Every week since that first march, through all seasons, all weathers (bar a day off on Christmas Day 2011, which we more than made up for with many added mid-week marches, two excursions up and down the country!), we have marched.


We have had people join us from far and near; people who marched with us for weeks, for months, even for years, who eventually had other things to do, could no longer give their time; we’ve had people who joined us in the weeks, months or years after the march had started and who have remained staunchly with us ever since.

And we’ve had those who have been there from the start, and are still there.
It’s been a major effort, but worth it.

Our campaign gave birth to many other ‘Says No’ campaigns across the country, campaigns that might never even have heard of us. Some of those stayed going for a short period; some – such as Ratoath Says No and Dublin Says No – are still flying their determined flag; many have been on issues other than the bank debt. We salute you all.


Over the last five years, willingly and in our own time, at our own expense, we’ve done the following:
• Visited the ECB HQ (old and new) in Frankfurt, pinned our own version of Martin Luther-style protest Theses to the front door;
• Argued the case for bank-debt justice for Ireland with senior officials from every EU institution – the Commission, the Council, the ECON committee of the Parliament, the ECB itself;
• Met the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland on three occasions, twice with delegations from the Dáil and the European Parliament (once each meeting former Governor Patrick Honahan and current Governor Phillip Lane);
• Had a Private Member’s Bill brought before the Dáil, sponsored and supported by every member of the then Technical Group across the full spectrum of political beliefs, from Stephen Donnelly and Shane Ross to Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd-Barrett, supported especially by Luke Ming Flanagan and then whip Catherine Murphy;
• Had a Petition accepted by the European Parliament Petitions Committee, helped on that occasion especially by then MEP Paul Murphy, supported also by Marian Harkin MEP and Nessa Childers MEP;
• Presented our case in a dedicated slot to the European Parliament GUE/NGL Group Meeting, with MEPs drawn from across a dozen countries; during that same visit we also presented to MEPs from other European Parliament Groups.


We had two primary aims: first (the Ballyhea Says kNOw campaign, if you like), shine a light on the wrong that has been done and is still being done to Ireland vis-à-vis the bank-debt imposition and second, right that wrong – it is to that wrong that Ballyhea Says NO!

We haven’t yet attained the latter and that battle continues til we do get justice for Ireland; on the former, we believe that now, finally, we have managed to put the bank-debt – and the Promissory Note debt particularly – back on the agenda.

Over the last five years our cause and our campaign has been highlighted on TV (from South Korea to Australia to Al Jazeera and across Europe), on film documentaries here and in Germany (an award-winner), on radio and newspapers in various countries. Those seeds have been planted far and wide, and weren’t planted on fallow ground.

We believe that now is the right time to finish this phase, to move on to phase two which will include (but is not limited to) the following:

• Supporting Joan Collins TD (re-elected, and worthy!) in her ongoing Supreme Court challenge to the constitutionality of the Promissory Notes;
• Supporting Catherine Murphy TD (likewise re-elected, likewise very worthy) in her ongoing questioning of the dealings around Siteserv etc;
• Following up on the pre-election pledge supported by many of the newly-elected TDs to this Dáil to work towards the establishment of a cross-party committee to bring this bank-debt justice fight to Europe, on the Promissory Note debt specifically;
• Work to expand the number of MEPs who support our cause, establish a cross-Group committee there to work with the Dáil committee.


It was never our belief that our group could do this on our own, never our intention to march every week for five years – 262 weeks! We believe now though that it is time for us to step back into the shadows and to hand this over to those more able and more qualified to take on this cause, not just on our behalf but on behalf of the people of this noble nation.
We want to stress, however; we are now awake, very much awake. As long as this bank-debt burden is around our necks, Ballyhea Says No will continue. And will continue to say no.

On behalf of Ballyhea Says No & Charleville Says No,
Diarmuid O’Flynn
086 2752664


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