Press release from Debt Justice Action today, following the ‘incendiary’ remarks from Minister Leo Varadkar. See also this very clear Q&A explaining Anglo/INBS promissory notes, Emergency Lending Assistance (ELA), the role of the Central Bank of Ireland, the ECB and the liabilities of the Irish state.
The campaigning network Debt Justice Action has today dismissed claims from Minister Leo Varadkar that failure to pay the debts of the defunct Anglo Irish Bank would trigger a ‘financial bomb’ in Dublin. Their network’s campaign – Anglo: Not Our Debt – is calling for the suspension of Anglo/INBS repayments as a first step towards renegotiation and write down of this debt.
Campaign spokesperson Andy Storey said that the suspension of Anglo payments would not spread contagion through the European financial system as most of the Anglo debt is owed to central banks and Anglo is an isolated problem from the so-called ‘pillar’ Irish banks. Dublin Community worker John Bissett said that social and economic ‘bombs’ were already going off in deprived communities as a result of cutbacks: “That such pain should be inflicted on those who are already most marginalised, while the gambling debts of zombie banks are paid off, including the unsecured Anglo bond of €1.25 billion falling due on 25th January, is unconscionable” said Dr Bissett.
Jimmy Kelly secretary General of Unite trade union said “The campaign is calling on the government to open negotiations with the Irish and European Central Banks, who bear co-responsibility with the Irish government and the Anglo bankers for the creation of the unjust Anglo debt.”
The bulk of the re-payments are government issued “promissory notes” – a promise to pay money in future – to Anglo/INBS which will cost Ireland over €30 billion during the next 20 years. The campaign proposes that all payments to Anglo creditors should be suspended pending negotiations until a write down of the debt is agreed.
Nessa Ní Chasaide of global justice organisation Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (DDCI) said “the lesson from Africa, Asia and Latin America is that ruining whole societies to repay illegitimate debts is wrong and unworkable – a solution must be based on cancellation of illegitimate debts that ensure lenders are held accountable for their mistakes, rather than sacrificing people’s rights to fear of financial markets. Some indebted countries have taken effective action – for example, Ecuador, after auditing its national debts, suspended some debt repayments in 2008, showing debt reductions are possible.”
The campaign is calling on people around the country to call, and meet with, their TDs to make their voices heard in support of the campaign.
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