Ireland: Ballyhea protestors go to Frankfurt
7 June 2012
Every Sunday, after mass, the citizens of Ballyhea in southern Ireland march silently from one end of their tiny village to the other. Their protest is against the rescue of the country’s banks, which crashed after the Irish property bubble collapsed in 2008. The billions needed to keep these banks afloat, all at the taxpayer’s expense, eventually led the Irish government to seek the €85 billion EU/ECB/IMF bailout of 2010.
66 weeks into a weekly march in a country wracked by austerity budgets, mass unemployment and emigration, their anger took on an international dimension as 15 amongst them flew to Frankfurt with a letter for Mario Draghi, chief of the European Central Bank. According to the Irish Examiner –
The long white document, stuck with blu-tack to the glass doors of the soaring office block that is the European Central Bank, greeted the mandarins of the euro when they arrived for work.
Like Martin Luther’s Theses nailed to the door of the Church in Wittenberg almost 500 years ago, the Ballyhea protesters hope their statement will bring about a reformation, too.
[...] While Martin Luther objected to indulgences being sold to pay for building St Peter’s in Rome, the Irish protesters explained that the country’s future was being sold to pay for bankers.
For the protestors – “greeted with unexpected civility by the citizens of Frankfurt and the staff of the ECB” –
The ECB is to blame for our soaring bank debt. The ECB has been abusing its financial muscle and forcing a weak Irish government to assume for the Irish people a debt burden that is not ours.