Tag Archives: banking crisis

Bank Crisis – take to the streets.

It just won’t work, some ‘experts’ say, while other ‘experts’ line up to chorus ‘oh yes, it will’.  €70 billion so far to ‘fix’ the banks, with, we can be quite certain, more to come at great cost to every citizen. Well, not quite every citizen – there are of course those tax exiles and tax avoiders and evaders who never ever pay their share of taxes, facilitated all of the time by politicians, senior civil servants, lawyers, accountants, bankers and the rest.

The current estimate is that every tax compliant man, woman and child in the Republic of Ireland will each have to stump up over €16,000 as their individual contribution to rescuing the banks, with no alternative to this other than to set out for distant shores, and forced exile.

The new government has decided on its ‘solution’ to the banking crisis. The Bank of Ireland will be scaled back, divesting €30 billion of assets by 2013 and will provide the first ‘pillar’, while the Allied Irish Bank will merge with the Educational Building Society, shed €23 billion of assets by 2013 and form the second ‘pillar’. Irish Life and Permanent TSB will be taken into State ownership, also entailing shedding many assets.

What we will end up with is fewer banks competing for customers, the end result of crazy, criminal banking policies pursued without hindrance by the State, without adherence to sound business practices, without compliance with the law, without ethical consideration of their actions by the bankers, cheered on by politicians. The citizen will foot the bill for the losses in the banks and for the ‘solution’, and will be at the mercy of a duopoly – effectively forced to deal with just two competing banks, with little prospect of foreign banks wishing to provide any level of competition.

That is the sort of ‘progress’ that comes about as a result of consolidation, synergies, amalgamations – all, we are sternly warned, necessary to compete in the ‘real’ world. It wasn’t always thus.

Up to the 1960s Irish customers had a choice in banking between the Bank of Ireland, Hibernian Bank, Munster & Leinster Bank, National Bank, Provincial Bank, Ulster Bank and Royal Bank. All of these were run on serious lines, operated to sober  business standards by men (not in those days women) who knew their duty was to protect the assets of the bank and its customers, to deliver a profit to the shareholders, and to hand on a sound business when the time came for them to move on.

There were also the Agricultural Credit Corporation to finance agriculture, set up by the State in 1927 but sold to the Dutch Rabobank in 2002, and the Industrial Credit Corporation, set up in 1933 but sold to Bank of Scotland/Halifax in 2001 and closed down with the Halifax operation in 2010. Two good effective State banks, gone.

In the 1960s Ireland had about 40 building societies providing mortgages for house buyers. These were merged over time into the Irish Nationwide, Educational Building Society, First Active and ICS. Even with the mergers there was choice for consumers.

In 40 years we have gone from seven good general banks and two specialist strategic banks, and four solid building societies, to two ‘pillars’ with another, Permanent TSB, in some sort of half-life. No real choice anymore for customers, and a huge bill to pay for the privilege. That is ‘progress’, that is the ‘real’ world – progress for crooks and gamblers and a world of real misery for the citizens.

The people spoke in the General Election, just five weeks ago, and voted, we were subsequently told, for parties that promised change for the better and rational solutions to our financial crisis. It is patently clear that the new crowd in government is as incapable of bursting out of the bubble in which politicians, economists and other ‘experts’ live and think and talk to one another, as was the old crowd. We cannot rely on them to see the world as we see it, and  to take on the neo-liberal Euro-imperialists who will quite happily do this country down to protect their banks and their half-baked Eurozone.

It is time to take off the gloves and take to the streets. No-one is riding to the rescue. No solution but by ourselves. That is how it has always been. The Greeks know that, and so, by now, should we.


Exit From EU Essential

It is long past time when Irish citizens should seriously consider the Irish State exiting the European Union, but the growing evidence of Ireland’s second or third-class status within the Union makes this much more of an imperative now. For far too long Ireland’s political class has engaged in a hard sell to have Irish citizens endorse a series of treaties that have dragged the State and its people further and further into a subservient position in the EU relative to the powerful axis of neo-imperialist countries – Germany, France and Britain.

The banking crisis and the resultant collapse of the Irish economy show that that axis – simultaneously neo-imperialist and neo-liberal – is not just prepared to countenance but insists on the enslavement of the Irish people for the purpose of paying the debts of private gamblers, principally the banks and money markets in those countries. If they are to allow for even marginal easing of the terms of what they describe as a ‘bail-out’ but what is in fact extortion, then we must surrender on the issue of our rate of corporate tax.

Ireland’s geographical position as an island separated by not one but two seas from the continent of Europe requires that the State devises methods of attracting investment into Ireland. While not defending the morality or otherwise of favouring international corporations with low tax rates, the fact that the powerful EU states insist on dismantling the limited advantage that this offers as a prerequisite for making it slightly easier for Irish citizens to refund debts that they do not own and cannot pay demonstrates the absence of fairness and parity of esteem between the powerful centre and the periphery.

But there are other permanent features of the EU’s position in the world that demand that the Irish State and its citizens examine their collective conscience about our involvement with a project that exploits, dominates, enslaves, manipulates and wages war directly or by proxy on less powerful regions, nations and people of the world.

It is unethical to engage in the international arms trade, but that is what European countries do in a highly aggressive and corrupt way and most often to vicious regimes who pile the cost of the weapons on to  national debt while exploiting the treasuries of their countries for personal profit and depositing the proceeds in secret accounts with European banks. It was illuminating and disgusting to see the British prime minister, David Cameron, arrive in Egypt while the people’s revolution was still active with a posse of some of the most notorious British weapons manufacturers and dealers to discuss arms deals with the military regime that controls that country.

These same European countries systematically exploit, with the client governments complicity, the resources of the client states, importing their raw materials to Europe where great value is added through manufacturing and sales. The impoverished people of the third World who attempt to follow the jobs into Europe are harassed, exploited, criminalised and very often expelled. Anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment is reaching fever pitch in many of the so-called ‘enlightened democracies’ in Europe, and is facilitated if not encouraged by the governments of those democracies through thinly veiled incitement and the enacting of very repressive laws aimed at those immigrant communities.

EU countries are heavily involved in the illegal and brutal wars being waged against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, wars which would not have begun and could not be sustained had those countries not joined the ‘coalition of the willing’. The EU is also actively complicit in the slow genocide of the Palestinian people in not only failing to exert strong pressure on Israel and the US to end their criminal oppression of an innocent indigenous people, but also in exploiting all trade possibilities with Israel in both directions. Not content with that, the EU is currently absorbing Israel into the European Union (well documented by David Cronin in his book “Europe’s Alliance with Israel: Aiding the Occupation”).

The leaders of the neo-imperialist states which control the European Union are not people that any reasonably moral person would want to associate with. The scale of destruction that these leaders wreak on the world and its people is massive, and criminal. It is in effect no different from the havoc their ancestors created in the Americas, Africa, and the Middle and Far East. Their record is the direct opposite of the record of the Irish people who, throughout history, have never sought to dominate or oppress other nations, but who have been the subject of colonisation and genocidal policies inflicted by one part of the axis of European neo-imperialism, Britain.

Given the current banking and fiscal crisis that Ireland is going through which will cause massive hardship on the Irish people, the prospect of disengaging with the EU and engaging with the 118 countries of the non-aligned movement is just a different challenge, but a far more rewarding one if planned for and handled correctly.

Not only is there a bright future for the Irish economy in a wider world, there is the opportunity for the Irish State to re-establish itself as a neutral peace-loving defender of human rights in the world. That is a prize worth working for. The debate on our future is urgent and must begin.

For more on this read a previous post – https://theirishrepublic.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/atlantean-irish-in-the-wider-world/

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