On the week of the Equinox, community activists and residents from Dublin 7 and Dublin 12 have organised mock “equinox sacrifices” to “appease the ECB gods”. The campaign is calling for the Anglo “promissory note” payment of €3.1 billion, due on March 31st, to be stopped and urges the government to instead use the money to fund vital public and community-based services that are currently being run down.
In events being held in Smithfield, Dublin 7, and in Bluebell, Dublin 12, today, the activists will make mock “sacrifices” of community social services to the “gods of the ECB”. The action will highlight the State’s continued determination – under the guiding hand of the ECB – to pay the full cost of Anglo’s debt and its devastating impact on local communities. The campaigners will draw attention to the egregious effects of these illegitimate debts through a symbolic burning of community services, local crèches, after-school clubs, educational projects and other community resources.
The Anglo: Not Our Debt campaign is a unique national coalition of representatives from the community, faith-based, global justice, environmental, trade union and academic sectors. The campaign argues that the debts of the defunct state-owned institutions, Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society, are not the responsibility of people in Ireland, yet it is they who are being asked to bear the burden – particularly those who are most vulnerable and marginalised.
At the Stoneybatter event, local resident Sian Crowley from the campaign said “The Anglo promissory note is utterly devastating to communities. In the Stoneybatter area alone in the last few years, government cuts have closed a string of projects such as the O’Devaney Gardens Regeneration Project, the Dublin Inner City Partnership, the Community IT project, the Local Women’s Network and Tweenies Childcare. These provided real supports to vulnerable sections of our community. Now they are gone, and why? So we can pay for the debt of the zombie bank Anglo Irish, a bank currently under criminal investigation. The effects of these cuts on children, women, the elderly and the disabled will be incalculable. It is time we stood up and said, ‘No More’.”
Speaking in Bluebell, community worker John Bissett said “The European Central Bank is insisting that Ireland makes this massive, unjust payment. The Irish government must find the courage and political will to suspend the payment, Ireland’s negotiating power with the ECB will then be much stronger. We don’t want to pay this debt and we should not have to.”
Speaking in Stoneybatter, Donnacha O’ Briain from the campaign said “The Anglo promissory note commitment of € 30.6 billion is an odious and immoral debt. It is also unsustainable. Leading economists have argued that canceling it would not create contagion in the financial system, and would improve Ireland’s chances of economic recovery enormously. We call on all our local politicians – particularly those in government, namely Pascal Donohoe T.D and Joe Costello T.D – to put pressure on the government to suspend the 31st March repayment and take steps to see this debt written down in full.”
The Bluebell action will be followed by a community meeting at 8pm at the New Bluebell Community Centre, Bluebell Ave, Bluebell.
The Anglo: Not Our Debt campaign will keep the pressure on the government in the run up to the payment date on 31st March. A petition with thousands of signatures will be brought to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis at the Convention Centre Dublin at 5.30pm on Friday 30th March.