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Fate of promissory note money

During the recent European elections, Fine Gael candidates wouldn’t answer the following question: what will happen to the €300,000,000 the Central Bank gets when it sells the first of the promissory note sovereign bonds later this year. Will that money be destroyed?

In an interview on Matt Cooper’s Today FM programme, newly elected Fine Gael MEP, Brian Hayes, likewise wouldn’t give a straight reply to that question.

In the Dáil, responding to three separate parliamentary questions, Finance Minister Michael Noonan wouldn’t reply. “The Central Bank is independent in the exercise of its functions, and the management of its investment holdings is a matter for the bank itself. Neither I, nor the Department of Finance, have any role in those matters,” he said. Slightly bemusing, considering Noonan was one of the primary architects of the deal that gave birth to those notes.

On Friday, July 25, two members of the ‘Ballyhea/Charleville Says No’ campaign group (Fiona Fitzpatrick and Diarmuid O’Flynn), two MEPs (Luke Ming Flanagan and Nessa Childers) and two Independent TDs (Stephen Donnelly and Peter Mathews) met with Central Bank Governor, Patrick Honohan, and asked him that simple question. Governor Honohan’s answer was unequivocal — the millions will be destroyed, or, as he said, “extinguished”.

Mr Honohan also said that the €350,000,000 raised from the sale, last year, of a portion of the 2012 bond had been ‘extinguished’, as had the €3.1bn borrowed to pay off the 2011 promissory note, as will be another €500,000,000 next year, and another the year after — every euro, in fact, of the €25,000,000,000 to be raised in the coming years.

So, now we have the answer.

To bail out the creditors (read major European banks) of two bust Irish banks (Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide), over the next 40 years, the Irish people will pay at least €70bn (when the 2011 and 2012 notes are included), the bulk of which will be paid in the final two decades. That’s €15,000 for every man, woman and child.

Would you accept a scenario in which you go into your bank in the morning and are told “Here’s a loan of €250,000 to pay off a debt built up by an associate of yours; I will now take every cent of that money and ‘extinguish it’. Here, also, is your payment schedule. I’ve set it up so that the bulk of the pain will be felt by your children and grandchildren, making it easier on yourself.”

Multiply that scenario by 100,000 and that’s what Noonan has done on our behalf. If you’re okay with that, do nothing — that debt is coming. If you’re not, join the Ballyhea/Charleville campaign group, join Luke and Nessa, Stephen and Peter, join all eight MEPs now fighting our cause in Europe on these promissory note bonds, as we take this fight to the ECB (Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Ríada, Lynn Boylan, Matt Carthy, along with Derry’s Martina Anderson, Independents Marian Harkin and Brian Crowley).

Fiona Fitzpatrick

Charleville

Co Cork

Diarmuid O’Flynn

Ballyhea

Co Cork

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