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November 1st 2011
THE BILLION-DOLLAR HEIST – BALLYHEA PROTEST
Today in Ballyhea a group of us blocked the main Cork/Limerick road for 15 minutes, sat ourselves down across the two lanes and held up our fellow-citizens as they were going about their daily business. Not a one of us wanted to do this, not a one of us ever thought we’d see the day when we’d be involved in something even remotely like this.
We’re ordinary people, from across the broad spectrum of Irish life – the genders, the age-groups, the various political parties, the employees, the employers, the growing number of unemployed. We don’t want to disrupt anyone’s life, we don’t want to confront our Gardaí, who come from among us – our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters, our neighbours and friends, all of whom are suffering with almost everyone else in this country.
What has moved us to protest is the on-going bank bondholder payouts, and on that single issue we in Ballyhea and Charleville have been marching since the first Sunday of last March, 35 weeks now and counting. What moved us to take this drastic (for us) action yesterday was the payment of the billion-dollar Anglo bond today (November 2nd).
If anything crystallises what this protest is about, it’s that bond; if anything crystallises the values of the New Order as now being dispensed by our government, where the poor must pay the rich, it’s that bond; if anything crystallises the injustice of what’s happening, the immorality, the wrong, it’s the payment of that unsecured, unguaranteed bond, a bond now entirely in the hands of the financial bottom-feeders, the sharks, the vultures, the vampires, those who gamble on what are seen as junk bonds – this particular bond was trading in the secondary market within the last 12 months at 52%, a profit of $480,000,000 within a year.
Later this week we’re going to have the announcement of the budgetary targets for the next three years, more billions in cuts, billions dwarfed by these regular bank bond payouts (€20bn in 2012, €17bn in 2013, €25bn in 2014). For three years we’ve worn the hairshirt, for three more years at least we’ll still be wearing the hairshirt; when, oh when, will this government see fit to apply the haircut to the bondholders? Michael D for decency, please, intercede for us.