Michael Noonan, the Minister for Finance, last week stated that the €64bn bank recapitalisation or debt relief was not being pursued by the Government. Inexplicably, he further stated that he was against debt relief for any country, including Ireland.
He seemed quite proud that we had received some relief by way of extended maturity dates and lower interest charges; those interest payments now being down to a mere €7bn a year and our overall debt is now less than 100% of GDP, something of the order of €150bn. Finally, he said that “we should all move on”, as things are much better than they were in 2010.
Mr Noonan’s latest admission of utter defeat and deference to our EU masters went totally unnoticed by the media, not a peep or a hint of outrage in print and on TV.
Everybody has long agreed that the capitalisation of our private banks to cover their unprecedented private irresponsible gambling losses was forced on the Irish people by the ECB to protect and rescue the euro, the EU itself, and of course the entire European banking system. Remember, we paid bondholders in full, even unsecured bond holders, even though many bonds were purchased at well below par. To put the outrage in context, it was as if someone, for some bizarre reason, was forced to pay their neighbour’s huge mortgage and then feeling extremely grateful and less aggrieved when granted an extended maturity and reduced interest rate on that mortgage.
This whole saga was cruel, unjust and an unprecedented political and economic crime, even on a global scale; the bully-boy tactics adopted by our so called EU partners were acquiesced shamefully and meekly by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, both complicit, despite pathetic initial protestations.
One wonders does Mr Noonan expect those Irish people directly affected to this day by the grotesque imposition of such monumental debts to turn the other cheek and move on? For instance, does he suggest the grieving families who lost loved ones to suicide to forget the injustices and just move on? Does he expect the thousands stranded on hospital trolleys to just fester in silence and move on? Does he expect the homeless, the sick, the elderly, the mentally ill, and those crippled by mortgage debt and facing mass evictions to put up with the little inconveniences and move on?
Politicians of all hues and the media in general appear to have been engaged in a conspiracy of silence and have been consumed for many months by the inconsequential minutiae of the Irish Water fiasco and the formation of a dysfunctional government. As a nation we have been struck by that fatal Irish disease, that of learned helplessness, as exemplified by Mr Noonan and his compliant government and an equally compliant media.
Shame on Mr Noonan and his government, shame on the media, and shame on us all, particularly in the anniversary year of 1916, for meekly accepting in full the economic and societal brunt of this crime, while the perpetrators slink off to luxuriate in multi-pensioned retirement.
Oh sorry, I forgot, it’s time to move on. Nothing to see here.