It slipped everyone's notice, except of course those millions who are tuned in here (right!), didn't merit mention in any publication or on any media outlet anywhere, but last week our banks paid out €80,000,000 in unsecured unguaranteed bonds. Today, another unsecured unguaranteed bond, from Irish Life & Permanent, $8,745,000 of our money gone south. Or maybe it's east, west, north - who knows? Our Finance Minister has never bothered to ask.
Interesting too to note that according to reports just out, last year Bank of Ireland made a pre-tax loss of €2.1bn; not mentioned, the fact they paid out €5.5bn in bonds, have another €6bn to pay this year. But sure that's all fine, aren't the doors still open?
As a result of the deal proposed by Michael Noonan a few weeks ago (it hasn't yet passed full muster with the ECB) the cost to us now of Ireland's bank bailout is a locked solid €69.7bn, the €64.1bn as detailed by Mr Noonan in reply to a Parliamentary Question plus the additional €5.6bn contribution from NAMA to the banks when it was taking over the bad debts. That's a baseline cost, by the way, does not include the interest or 'coupon' being paid annually on those bonds, nor the interest on the borrowings we have made to date to bail out those banks, coupons and interest that will continue to be paid and thus to accrue as part of the bank bailout in the coming years. When all those costs are added, then before we're finished that €69.7bn will become €100bn.
Unless we do something about it.
In the weekend just past, and to mark the 2nd anniversary of our weekly protest, we in Ballyhea and Charleville launched a new campaign, 'Ireland says NO!', a flag under which all the various 'says NO!' groups can gather and march.
On March 27th we'll be in Brussels, meeting with Sharon Bowles, the Chairperson of ECON, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the body to which the ECB is answerable. At that meeting we will be doing what our own government didn't even attempt to do when 'negotiating' its recent deal, we will be presenting a case for bank debt writedown for Ireland. Wish us luck.