Amazing isn't it, how often since this global banking crisis began that we in Ireland have been told 'this can't be done, that can't be done', only to subsequently find that actually, it can be done. And so it is that now we learn that senior bondholders can, in fact, be burned. So we have Angela Merkel declare that tax-payers, in fact, should not have to bail out failed banks.
"I am very pleased that a solution for Cyprus was successfully reached last night which meant that the country's insolvency was averted," she said in a statement released by the chancellery. The deal, she added, represents a "fair distribution" of the burden and "also requires those who have contributed to causing these undesirable developments to take responsibility, and that's as it should be...On the one hand, the banks must take responsibility for themselves. That's what we have always said. We don't want taxpayers having to save banks but that banks save themselves."
Where then does that logic leave Ireland? How does that balance with the fact that we, the Irish people (it's not just 'taxpayers' by the way), have had to pump €69.7bn into our failed banks; how especially does it square with the fact that under pressure from Angela and the ECB henchmen we had to pump €31bn into Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide when both of those weren't just failed banks, they were already zombie banks?
Once again of course our own Michael Noonan covered himself in glory. He chaired the meeting at which the original Cyprus plan was concocted, signed off on the 'taxing' of the savings of even the smallest depositor, then sat back as this government - not for the first time - issued a smug, self-congratulatory statement extolling the terms of the deal, declaring it as a “positive development for Cyprus, the eurozone as a whole, and Ireland”.
It wasn't of course, and when the shinola hit the fan Minister Noonan quickly washed his hands of the deal, declaring it was that unfortunate little nation's own idea to hit its own bank savings, down to the littlest cent. He conveniently overlooked the fact that as chair of the meeting he could have and should have immediately ruled out any such proposal, on the simple grounds that all deposits Eurozone-wide up to €100,000 are supposedly guaranteed. He could even have ruled out the proposal on the grounds that it was patently daft, destructive, likely to cause panic. But he didn't; not alone did he go with it, he sat back as the Irish government officials went on to extol the 'deal'.
A forgotten element of the original deal also - Cyprus would have to raise its Corporation Tax rate by 2%; now, when the pressure comes on Ireland again to raise our Corporation Tax rate, who do we appeal to in Europe for support? Ah, our great negotiators.
This week a representative group of us from the Ballyhea & Charleville campaign group are going to Brussels to meet with Sharon Bowles MEP, Chair of ECON, to put to her Ireland's case for bank debt writedown, and to request that she help us set up a meeting with ECB itself. Sad, isn't it, that even with one of the highest-paid governments in the world, a citizenry is reduced to having to go to Europe and negotiate for itself. We're told that we're only wasting our time and our money but if we come back with even one euro of debt writedown, that will be one euro more than Kenny/Noonan/Gilmore/Howlin has even asked for.
By the way, just so ye know, already this month our banks have paid out over €106,000,000 in senior unsecured bonds.