‘Irish deal simply recycles zombie debts’

Social justice campaigners in the UK supported the Irish ‘Anglo: Not Our Debt Campaign’ in criticising the Irish government’s plans to restructure the country’s ‘zombie bank’ debt as ‘totally inadequate’ today.

The Irish government was due to pay a €3 billion ‘promissory note’ today as part of a payback of the state-underwritten debts of Anglo-Irish Bank. It has come up with a plan to defer that payment through restructuring the debt. But campaigners from Debt Justice Action in Ireland have claimed this is merely a ‘political stroke’ which fails to wipe out the debts of the zombie banks.

Debt Justice Action spokeswoman Nessa Ní Chasaide said that the government:

“was borrowing from an ill defined Peter to pay a Paul that has no right to be paid in the first place – one form of illegitimate debt is being replaced by another. Rather than refuse the socialization of massive private bank losses, this move will see the state, and ultimately the people in Ireland, assume full sovereign responsibility for €30,000,000,000 of debts run up by private speculators.”

Community activist Cathleen O’Neill, speaking at the handover of the petition, claimed that the fundamental issue was not being addressed:

“we, ordinary people living in Ireland, did nothing to run up this debt in the first place – it is not our debt, and we should not be paying it, nor should our children be paying it next year or whenever the can is being kicked down the road to”.

Nick Dearden, from Jubilee Debt Campaign in the UK said:

“It is totally unjust to make Ireland’s people – especially the poorest in that country – pay for the crimes of speculators and the banking elite. The austerity being visited on the Irish people is deeply unjust. Across Europe and the world, the only way to build a sustainable and just economy is large-scale debt cancellation and a crack down on speculation. Campaigns for debt audits springing up across Europe call for this.”  

— ENDS

Notes to the Editor

Debt Justice Action is a campaigning alliance against debt injustice that will work together during 2012. The group is comprised of non-party political justice organisations from a range of sectors including trade unions, community, faith-based, global justice, research and academic groups.

The campaign opposes the payment of the €3.1 billion IOU (or promissory note) which was due to be paid by the government today. The €3.1 billion payment will be due each year up until 2023 with further IOU payments due beyond this date.

The campaigners highlight that the €3.1 billion payment that was due to be made by the state on behalf of Anglo now appears scheduled for repayment either in 2013 or in 2025 (it’s not fully clear yet), would fund the cost of running Ireland’s entire primary school system for a year.

The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan’s Statement on the Promissory Note Deal is here: http://finance.gov.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=7195

A simple ‘questions and answers’ document on Anglo debt can be found at http://www.notourdebt.ie

Debt Justice Action network www.notourdebt.ie/supporting-organisations
Jubilee Debt Campaign http: www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk

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