Press release 01/02/2012

The campaign group Anglo: Not Our Debt has sharply criticized the EU’s new ‘fiscal treaty’. Campaign spokesperson Marie Moran described the treaty as “akin to someone being advised to keep the doors of their house locked tomorrow while thieves were ransacking it today”. “There is something obscene about insisting a country like Ireland reduce its deficit and debt levels, while at the same time forcing it to repay the debts run up by a private bank like Anglo Irish”, she continued.

Jimmy Kelly of the trade union UNITE described as “mind blowing doublethink” the idea that Ireland could institutionalize, as the treaty insists, low levels of public debt and budget deficits while honouring the Anglo debt – the final bill for which could run to in excess of €80 billion [1]. “Ireland would not have a serious crisis of public debt in the first place if we had not socialized the private gambling debts of those who lent to Anglo, and in doing so bailed out the European financial system”, he said.

Community worker John Bissett called on the Irish government to suspend the €3.1 billion Anglo ‘promissory note’ due for payment on 31st March and for the government to enter into negotiations to have the debt written down. “The EU”, he said, “cannot have it both ways – if they want countries like Ireland to be fiscally ‘responsible’ then they cannot saddle them with odious and unsustainable debts”.

[1] The Anglo repayments will have reached €47 billion by 2031, the equivalent of 30% of Ireland’s current GDP. However, as Ireland will have to borrow more to make the payments, this could rise to €85 billion when interest charges are added in. The campaigners highlight that the €3.1 billion payments due to be made by the state on behalf of Anglo in March 2012 would fund the cost of running Ireland’s entire primary school system for a year or could fund the putting in place of a next generation broadband network for all of Ireland.

Leave a comment