Letter in today’s Irish Times.
Paying back banks’ billions
Ireland’s debt repayments for the now dead Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) will reach over €47.9 billion if the repayments are not suspended. The bill could even rise to €85 billion when borrowing and interest charges are added in.
The debts run up by these two institutions are not primarily the responsibility of ordinary people living in Ireland – they are principally the responsibility of those who supported Anglo’s and INBS’ reckless lending.
Yet we have been saddled with repaying the debts through a system of “promissory notes”. The next payment, amounting to €3.1 billion, falls due on March 31st. Such payments are scheduled to continue until 2031.
This money could and should be used to maintain and expand public services and provide a desperately needed stimulus to the depressed economy. For example, €3.1 billion would cover the cost of running Ireland’s entire primary school system for a year.
It is clear that the Irish Government is viewed as a compliant debtor by the international lenders, especially by the European Central Bank (ECB). The Government must take action to fundamentally re-orient this unbalanced relationship.
We, 57 teachers and researchers from a wide range of Ireland’s third-level institutions, therefore call on the Government to immediately suspend these repayments so that Ireland is viewed as a challenging negotiator by the relevant parties, including the ECB, and to ensure that this unjust debt is written down.
IAIN ATACK (TCD); JOHN BAKER (UCD); TOM BOLAND (WIT); HARRY BROWNE (DIT); AUDREY BRYAN (St Patrick’s College); TOM CAMPBELL (DSC Kimmage); NICOLA CARR (QUB); MAURICE COAKLEY (Griffith College); BRÍD CONNOLLY (NUIM); COLIN COULTER (NUIM); LAURENCE COX (NUIM); TONY CUNNINGHAM (NUIM); LAURENCE DAVIS (UCC); DAVID DELANEY (WIT); DYMPNA DEVINE (UCD); Eilish Dillon (DSC Kimmage); VINCENT DURAC (UCD); ROLAND ERNE (UCD); MICHAEL FOLEY (DIT); MARK GARAVAN (GMIT); PAUL MICHAEL GARRET (NUIG); MARY GILMARTIN (NUIM); PAT HANNON (DIT); ANTHONY HAUGHEY (DIT); KIERAN KEOHANE (UCC); IAN KILROY (DIT); CARMEN KUHLING (UL); DAVID LANDY (TCD); CATHY LEENEY (UCD); SEÁN L’ESTRANGE (UCD); GERARD MCCANN (QUB) RORY MC DAID (Marino Institute); HUGH MCBRIDE (GMIT); TERENCE MCDONOUGH (NUIG); CHANDANA MATHUR (NUIM); ROSEMARY MEADE (UCC); GERARDINE MEANEY (UCD); FIONA MEEHAN (DSC Kimmage); MARIE MORAN (UCD); EITHNE MURPHY (NUIG); ENDA MURPHY (UCD); MARY P MURPHY (NUIM); TRÍONA Ní SHÍOCHÁIN (UL); CIAN O’CALLAGHAN (NUIM); TOM O’CONNOR (CIT); TOM O’CONNOR (DIT); KATHERINE O’DONNELL (UCD); AILEEN O’GORMAN (UCD); THERESA O’KEEFE (NUIM); HELENA SHEEHAN (DCU); PAUL STOKES (UCD); ANDY STOREY (UCD); FIONNGHUALA SWEENEY (UCD); GAVIN TITLEY (NUIM); BRIAN TRENCH (DCU); THERESA URBAINCZYK (UCD) JUDY WALSH (UCD),
C/o Arklow Street,