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Congress warns Troika on €64 billion bank debt deal

Date Released: 04 February 2013

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is to warn officials from the Troika that without a significant deal on Ireland’s €64 billion bank debt burden, there is little chance of economic recovery in the near future.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with officials from the Troika this afternoon, Congress General Secretary David Begg said: “The penny hasn’t quite dropped yet on the bank debt, particularly the absurdity of expecting a small economy with a workforce of just 1.8 million to pay a bank debt of €64 billion. It is unjust and unpayable,” Mr Begg said.

He said the Congress delegation will point out to Troika officials that Ireland has already paid a heavy price for the reckless actions of banks across the whole Eurozone.

“Figures from the Eurostat* agency show that Ireland has paid more for the bank crisis than any other EU state. So far, the bank bailout has cost us €41 billion, while Germany – with an economy almost 20 times our size – has paid €40 billion. We have also paid more than the UK, France, Portugal and Spain.

“Indeed, the bank crisis has cost every person in Ireland almost €9000 – while the EU average is €191 per person. We have paid almost 50 times more than anyone else.

“Those numbers just don’t add up – and that’s what we’ll be telling  the Troika today,” Begg said.

Congress is to hold a series of coordinated demonstrations, in six centres across the country on Saturday, 9th February, in protest at the €64 billion bank debt burden.

The protests will take place in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Sligo.

Among the acts that have been comfirmed to perform during the march and at a subsequent rally in Dublin's Merrion Square, are: Comedian Barry Murphy or Apres Match and Irish Pictorial Weekly fame; Mundy and his band; Finglas rapper MissElayneous; punk poet Jinx Lennon and well-known UB40 tribute band Promises & Lies.

Begg said that the demonstrations were an opportunity to send a “very clear signal to Europe” and encouraged people from all sectors of society to attend on February 9 and make their voices heard.

“This is an issue that transcends all others….there is no more critical issue facing Irish society at this point.”

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