Campaigners say promissory note deal 'not a just or long-term solution'

The Anglo: Not Our Debt campaign group has described the proposed deal on deferral of the €3.1 billion ‘promissory note’ payment due on 31 March as likely to create bigger debt problems for people in Ireland in the long run. The group describes the deal as “a political blunder by a government that has wasted a chance for an immediate write down of Anglo debt.”

Campaign spokeswoman Nessa Ní Chasaide said, “While it is positive that €3.1 billion is not being immediately sucked out of the country on 31 March, the Government is just borrowing the money to do this. The payment is being replaced with another loan to be repaid in the future – one form of illegitimate debt is being replaced by another.” 

Community activist Cathleen O’Neill claimed that the fundamental issue was not being addressed: “We, ordinary people living in Ireland, did nothing to run up this debt in the first place – it is not our debt, and we should not be paying it, now or in 2025.”

Andy Storey, chairperson of Action from Ireland - one of the groups involved in the Anglo: Not Our Debt campaign - expressed additional concerns about the proposed deal. “We do not know the interest rate on this new loan that is being taken out to cover the €3.1 billion, so we could end up accumulating yet more debt in years to come, bequeathing a legacy of even greater hardship to the next generation.”

Storey also said “The government is reducing our chances of writing down this unjust debt. Had the government cancelled the original payment outright this would not have been a sovereign default, but cancelling the payment now due in 2025 would constitute a default”. He continued, “We have boxed ourselves into a corner here, making it harder for us to write down this illegitimate debt in the future, whereas this is something we could and should have done right now.”

Ní Chasaide noted that there was also no clarity on what would happen with the payments scheduled for beyond 2012. She also said,“We need a just and long-term solution, not a gesture based on short-term political expediency.”

In events held in Smithfield, Dublin 7, and in Bluebell, Dublin 12 (pictured above), yesterday, the Anglo: Not Our Debt campaign made mock "sacrifices" of community social services to the “gods of the ECB”. The action was intended to 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 drew attention to the effects of these illegitimate debts through a symbolic burning of community services, local crèches, after-school clubs, educational projects and other community resources. {jathumbnailoff}