The Anglo: Not Our Debt campaign regards the promissory note deal announced last week as a rotten one, and we do so for three main reasons.
First, this was not our debt in the first place. Anglo Irish Bank (some of whose executives are under criminal investigation) and Irish Nationwide Building Society ran up these debts on the basis of loans made to them by speculative investors looking to make a fast buck. Those investors gambled and they should have lost, rather than have the state guarantee their gambles and force people living in Ireland to repay debts that they had no part in creating and from which they derived no benefit. The deal legitimises an illegitimate debt.
Second, the stretching out of the repayment period (which may or may not reduce the real value of the debt – government projections on ‘savings’ are already being contested) places the burden of this debt on future generations: our children and grandchildren will pick up the tab for the gambling debts of the bondholders. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan uses the analogy of a long-term mortgage, the cost of which will be eroded by inflation, but in reality we are paying a massive mortgage for someone else’s house and will have nothing to show for it in 40 years’ time save for the scars left by successive cuts. Meanwhile, billions of euros will be continue to be taken from public spending annually to cover the interest repayments on the sovereign bonds that have replaced the promissory notes. Children will pay now through cuts to their education, community and other public services, as well as the bombshell payments of principal they will face in 25-40 years’ time. How can this be considered just or ethical?