Memo to Ireland

ilene's picture

Again, is it down to save the nation or save the banks while it looks like the answer is the save as it ever was? - Ilene   

Memo to Ireland

"Tell the EU and IMF to Shove It!"

By MIKE WHITNEY, originally published at CounterPunch

Imagine that Yasser Arafat had succeeded in ending Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Now imagine that 10 or 15 years later, new Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, agreed to hand over control of his country's budget to the IMF so his people's future would be controlled by outsiders. Do you think Palestinians would praise Abbas as a patriot or denounce him as a traitor?

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen is Mahmoud Abbas. He's caved in to the demands of foreign capital and transferred control over the nation's budget to the EU and the IMF. Here's an excerpt from a November 24, article in Reuters:

"Ireland's teetering government will announce plans on Wednesday to cut welfare spending sharply and raise taxes to help pay for the country's catastrophic banking crisis and meet the terms of an international bailout.

The four-year plan to save 15 billion euros is a condition for an EU/IMF rescue under negotiation for a country long feted as a model of economic development that has become the latest casualty in the euro zone's emergency ward.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen told parliament no final figure had been agreed for financial assistance, "but an amount of the order of 85 billion (euros) has been discussed.

The finance ministry said the austerity plan would be published at 1400 GMT and posted on the official government website." (Reuters)

This is a black day for Ireland. The Irish people will now face a decade or more of grinding poverty and depression thanks to their venal leaders. As soon as the ink dries on the IMF loans, the second occupation of Ireland will begin, only this time there won't be armored cars and Paramilitaries in fatigues, but nerdy-looking bureaucrats trained in the art of spreading misery. In fact, the loans haven't even been signed yet, and already IMF officials are urging the government to cut jobless benefits and the minimum wage. They're literally champing at the bit. They just can't wait to get their hands on the budget and start slashing away.

And don't believe the hype about European unity or saving Ireland. My ass. This is about bailing out the banks. The bondholders get a free ride while workers get kicked to the curb. Here's a clip from the Financial Times that spells it out in black and white:

"According to data compiled by the Bank of International Settlements, the three largest creditors to the Irish economy at the end of June...were Germany to the tune of €109bn, the UK at €100bn and France at €40bn. These sums amount to 2 per cent of France’s gross domestic product, 4.5 per cent of Germany’s GDP, and 7 per cent of British GDP."

See? Another bank bailout. Ireland is being asked to cut to social services, slash wages, renegotiate contracts, and dismantle the welfare state so that undercapitalized banks in France and Germany can get their pound of flesh. But, why? They're the ones who bought the bonds. No one put a gun to their head. They knew they could lose money if Irish banks went south. That's the risk they took. "You pays your money, and you takes your chances." Right? That's how capitalism works.

Not any more, it doesn't. Not while Cowen's in charge, at least. The Irish PM has decided to bail them out; make all the bondholders "whole again." But who made Cowen God? Who gave Cowen the right to hand over his country to the IMF?

No one. Cowen is a rogue agent kowtowing to international capital. After he finishes his work in Ireland, he'll probably join globalist Tony Blair on the French Riviera for a little hobnobbing with the tuxedo crowd.

It's revealing to watch the way Cowen works, as though the interests of foreign bankers mean more to him than those of his own people. For example, the Green Party withdrew from the government last night calling for new elections, but even though the government is in a shambles, the slippery Taoiseach wants to stay in power long enough to push through a new 4-year budget that will leave Irish workers on the brink of destitution. Who is Cowen working for anyway?

This is from the Irish Times:

"Opposition parties have today stepped up pressure on the Government as it seeks to push ahead with passing next month's budget.

Fine Gael again called for an immediate general election and said the four-year budgetary plan should only be implemented by a Government which has a proper mandate....

"What is best for the country is that the negotiation about a programme for four years be done by a government which has four years to serve, that has a mandate from the public so that it has the authority and the credibility to not only develop and negotiate it but to implement it. I think that is in Ireland's best interest," he said. ("Opposition steps up pressure", Charlie Taylor, Irish Times)

The prospective belt-tightening measures will include the firing of 28,000 public employees, a boost in property taxes, a 10 percent cut in welfare benefits, and higher taxes on low-wage workers. Cowen believes that taxing low income families is preferable to making billionaire bondholders eat their losses. The whole thing stinks to high-heaven.

Is there a way out for Ireland? Economist Mark Weisbrot thinks so. Here's what he thinks should happen:

"The European authorities and IMF can loan Ireland any funds needed in the next year or two at very low interest rates....Once these borrowing needs are guaranteed, Ireland would not have to worry about spikes in its borrowing costs like the one that provoked the current crisis....The European authorities could scrap their pro-cyclical conditions and, instead, allow for Ireland to undertake a temporary fiscal stimulus to get their economy growing again. That is the most feasible, practical alternative to continued recession.

Instead, the European authorities are trying what the IMF... calls an "internal devaluation". This is a process of shrinking the economy and creating so much unemployment that wages fall dramatically, and the Irish economy becomes more competitive internationally on the basis of lower unit labour costs."

It's all de rigeur for the IMF. It wouldn't be an IMF program unless someone was starving. That's the benchmark for success.

Ireland doesn't need structural adjustment programs that shrink GDP, dismantle popular social programs and strip wealth from workers when low interest funding and fiscal stimulus can bring the economy back to life. This is politics not economics. The EU and IMF are using the crisis to push through their own agenda. Their real goal is to crush the unions, shred the social safety net, and roll back the gains of the Progressive Era.

The Irish people are left with no choice but to resist. Presently the Cowen government is collapsing. Bravo. Now it's off to the barricades to see if the damage can be undone. Ireland needs to withdraw from the EU and start fresh. It'll be a bumpy road at first, but there's no other way. Economist Dean Baker sums it up like this in an article in The Guardian. Here's what he said:

"Even a relatively small country like Ireland has options. Specifically, they could drop out of the euro and default on their debt....Like Ireland, Argentina had also been a poster child of the neoliberal crew before it ran into difficulties.

But the IMF can turn quickly. Its austerity programme lowered GDP by almost 10% and pushed the unemployment rate well into the double digits. By the end of the 2001, it was politically impossible for the Argentine government to agree to more austerity. As a result, it broke the supposedly unbreakable link between its currency and the dollar and defaulted on its debt.

The immediate effect was to make the economy worse, but by the second half of 2002, the economy was again growing. This was the start of five and a half years of solid growth, until the world economic crisis eventually took its toll in 2009."

The Irish people didn't struggle through centuries of famine and foreign occupation so they could be debt-peons in the EU's corporate Uberstate. Like Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said, "We don't need anyone coming in to run the place for us. We can run it ourselves." Right. Tell the EU plutocrats to take their Utopian Bankstate and shove it. 

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Vendetta's picture

Same thing is working fast and furiously to do the same US.  Oops they are already 'hard at work'.  My sympathies for the Irish hoping they rid themselves of their craven politicians, my hatred is reserved for the supranational entities such as the IMF/WTO et al whom are the vampire squids in chief.

buzzard beak's picture

Hey Ireland you know where you can send your whining lefties. Yum yum.

Yeah you Irish are getting royally scammed in this bank bail out. Your government has bailed out so much with money borrowed in your name, your name's no good any more. So now the EU and IMF will lend your government money in your name, so long as it all goes toward keeping whole all the foreign creditors to Irish banks. That means you've got to eat some fairly serious spending cuts.

But did you really want the alternative? Sure, it would have been much better and more fair to wipe out the bank creditors (not to mention shareholders). But that would have meant much deeper spending cuts, at least in terms of what you would have had to take up front. The Irish lefties were having none of that. And now they're crying that they're getting it anyway, only in steps and stages. And there's more to come. Boo hoo.

moneymutt's picture

Your government has bailed out so much with money borrowed in your name, your name's no good any more


hardly a leftist government that raid pension funds, reduces minimum wage, cuts gvot spending massively to bail out rich banks. Govt spending is govt spending. 

By your advice no business shojuld ever declare bankruptcy, that would be the end of them, no? But in reality, I have seen many businesses in my industry declare bankruptcy and survive and end up much better for it. Does it make it difficult to get credit, and make credit expensive? Yes. Is it a better deal the trying to pay off impossible debt or just closing doors of business? Yes.

Ireland already instituted deep cuts and austerity earlier this year and within a few months its not doing them any good on bond markets. The bailout will leave them raped.

What's the alternative? Default. Is that better or worse? All you have to do is consider real world expirements like Argentina. With 2 years of default they were off and running, under IMF loans, more like 20-30 years typically. Just like a business, the harm from declaring bankruptcy is often much less worse than harm from keeping debt overhanging.

Its just a matter of whose perspective you have. If you are the bank, IMF bailout is better deal, if you are Ireland, default is better deal. The choice is some rich folks, the stabiltiy of derivatives market vs.  regular people and businesses in Ireland. I'm with the regular folks and businesses, let the derivatives hosue of card collapse and lets get back to making, designing and growing things for the eachother without financial parasites, who do nothing by siphon riches froim our hard work based on fraud and insider connections and govt corruption.

Vendetta's picture

written just like a buzzard would

Big Dog's picture

Capitalism has been replaced by Bankersterism, as witnessed by the Poodle

receiving $2M per year for doing PR tricks at JP Morgan.

amanfromMars's picture

Is that All the EU and IMF have to Offer ...... Debt?

BigDuke6's picture

On the bright side they'll some cheap acres on the west-coast which is stunning, has amazing golf courses and pints of guinness.  

Good place to retire.

With what i don't know..... after it all gets stolen...

THE DORK OF CORK's picture


One little dream of mine is to fly a crop duster full of agent orange over every Golf course in Ireland. (Not only would the greens be destroyed but any golfers wasting a walk that day would have mutated children)

They are a pox on the land - the takeover of the Old Head of Kinsale was a criminal act.

That area had communal access to all - I remember when I could fish off the rocks with my father from that beautiful unspoilt peninsula  - now I am denied access so that criminals with law on their side can have a undisturbed game of Golf.

Old Head of Kinsale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Paul Thomason's picture

The world has gone mad.


Let's not forget what happens when Mr.Unregulated derivatives market starts chasing Mr.Capital down the drain.

moneymutt's picture

agreed, ultimately its all about the derivatives a market too huge to fail, but will


"They knew they could lose money if irish banks went south, that's the risk they took"

I doubt it's the bond holders TPTB are trying to keep from experiencing a haircut, it's trying to avoid the triggering of the credit default swaps.

obelisks's picture

I am sorry but I simply cannot imagine for

one minute that the I.R.A. or the Real I.R.A. are going to be willing to sit back and allow this to happen to their country.


BigDuke6's picture

What? you expect the ira to ride to the peasants rescue?

On a worthy steed, his AK47 above his head.

Dont be daft, the ira were organised crime with protection rackets and drug running.

and they only quit because the USA stopped their cash flow after 9/11 when new yorkers saw what it was like to be bombed and the giving dried up.  NORAID etc.

The timeline of their fade out is there to see.

gwar5's picture

The road to serfdom is paved with debt.

The new monarchy are the clever bankers.

Heads will roll. But which ones? 

Silversinner's picture

Protest won't work,most of the times it's begging

for some benifits.What we need is a revolution

and not peacefull one per se.Since the France

revolution the uberclass had discovered they are

not God just before their heads got separated from their body's.

Since then they are using pupets(called polititans)to

do their dirty work.We have to let them know,we know

who they are and we will use force if needed.If we

don't act we will be put against each other(like so

many times before)I'm ready to take up arms to fight

for the freedom of our (grand)childeren.My hate against

them grows exponetily every day,like the number of people

with the same feelings.Want to look my grandchildren strait into their eyes

and tell them the old bastard tried everey thing possible

to prevent them from being slaves.My tipping point is reached.


bullet357's picture

The BANK RUN Dec. 7,2010 will happen were i live it is the talk of the town.  Everyone i work with are planning on taking out all extra money and leaving only enough to keep the acc. open on Friday the 4th of Dec.  Everyone who i work with does not want to be the one who left there money in the bank when the Bank run starts.  To be the only on left holding the bag. Two words to live by.... Food & Ammo ...bitches

WTF2's picture

Back to being the Puerto Rico of Europe.

frenchie's picture

but this is the way NWO should be implemented, right ?

Bob's picture

True enough.  The question remains of whether national populations can be made to swallow what they've agreed, through their politicians, to take. 

I don't think so.  Call us spoiled, but we ain't gonna take it.  Not in any western country.  The IMF doesn't translate well. 

knukles's picture

Resign your sovereignty, for not enough has been done yet!
Utopia Awaits!

Big Brother.
George Orwell was right.

destiny's picture

some of you must have read the excellent book of G edward Griffin :

self extracting zip vlc player.  Very educative.

moneymutt's picture

The interesting thing about these austerity programs is how ineffective they are in producing surplus.  If you fire a govt worker, you supposedly save his salary costs, say $50k, but first, he will take some social safety net funds as an unemployed person. Second, his lost disposal income will not be spent into economy. I'm sure academics can tell us but for every $1 ( or Euro) withdrawn from govt spending, you might only end up with some small fraction in govt savings, like may $0.10.

Ireland did austerity just like they were supposed to earlier and still their deficit ended up being bad because their economy shrunk so much.

So immense misery is foisted on population to squeeze out small amount of money to make sure rich guys lose no money on any investment ever. Just like rich corrupt govt contractors would be happy to have taxpayers spend $1,000,000 on something worthless to population so that the could make a $10,000, rich would be happy for Ireland to lose 50 billion in social safety net if it meant they could get a billion more than if a default.

AnAnonymous's picture

The interesting thing about these austerity programs is how ineffective they are in producing surplus. 


 That is because there is austerity and austerity. Usually, austerity programs were based on zero from loan until solvent, meaning there was no in, only out with an economy redesigned to support exportation only (extraction of wealth)

The IMF and the others, when they smell what was going to our shores, decided that the austerity programs they used to implement were not functional (when they were to extract wealth) Just look like people who do not want to taste their own cooking.

The real austerity programs, the only that were designed to generate a surplus by extracting wealth from one place, are simply not executed currently in the Western world.

All that is done is diet programs. The Irish are served less food, therefore less leftovers. As the old saying got it, serving at a rich's table always brings better meals.

dizzyfingers's picture

Another part of banksterism is that those who are on the fringes of the ruling class -- that is, those who work for the banksters in different capacities (congress and by default, federal employees, bureaucrats, etc.) are protected by being given by their higher-ups and themselves benefits that the serfs don't get...even serfs who earn well in the mythical system of "freedom".

All part of the plan. and





RockyRacoon's picture

What a graphic!  I drilled down into some really spooky stuff.

Thanks for posting that.

Bob's picture

Good comments.  Man, that is one beautiful interactive chart!

greenewave's picture

There is a very serious possibility we have a BANK RUN December 7th. Please watch and share this video with the people you care about (


This is really scary guys, people are already talking about it and it has spread from France to the UK and now coming to the United States.

Sudden Debt's picture

+10, good insight.

Gloomy's picture

Ireland to use National Pension Reserve Fund assets
Global Pensions | 25 Nov 2010 | 15:37

Jaishree Kalia, Raquel Pichardo-Allison

Categories: IrelandIRELAND - The Irish government plans to use assets from the €24bn ($32bn) National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) to support the government bond market and infrastructure investment, the National Recovery Report has confirmed.

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Criminal - this should be used as a deposit for a state industrial bank that creates credit to build utilities.

Instead it will be wasted to pay unrepayable debt.......

RockyRacoon's picture

What's the deal?  Is this "confiscation" of retirement funds for the banksters not common knowledge yet?  Why are there not government buildings ablaze?  I am amazed.

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

Southern Ireland is a very different place from the North.

Like the North there are people of conflicting loyalties although in the south it is much less apparent.

We are all essentially British with a botched republicism on top - remember in 1916 there was very little support for the rebellion.

It was only in 1919 after the great war and all its turmoil that Sinn Fein swept to power in elections.

Also the ravages of globalisation have diluted the stock.

Besides I am here now when I should have got the train to Dublin this morning - The Irish are all talk.

Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

A strange and perplexing passivity, eh? 

These are not the Irish!

Have the Southern Celts drank too much water with runoff estrogen from unassimilated birth control hormones that have entered the water supply?

moneymutt's picture

criminal, pension funds raided so rich people don't lose money on their investments...criminal

dizzyfingers's picture

It's true. That is banksterism, NOT capitalism.

pussfeller's picture

Imagine that Yasser Arafat had succeeded in ending Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. 


You lost me right off the bat with this nightmare scenario.

midtowng's picture

So ending an aparthied military occupation is a nightmare to you?

LFMayor's picture

Let's go O/T a little longer. Those poor, "aparthiedly" oppressed masses, yearning to be free danced when we were struck, handed out "candies" that were more than likely provided by us. Danced after how many of our milquetoast leaders tried to negotiate on their behalf. And this was hurriedly removed from our TV's, by our controlling betters.  The ones that have you spoon fed, imagining all peoples and beliefs are one and shit like that.
I like Israel, if just for the simple fact that they burn vermin with regularity.  As for you, well go and help them yourself.  Those delightful people you're helping will use you for sex until you can't wait to stand in front of the dozers, just to make it stop.


THE DORK OF CORK's picture

I think you are wrong about Cowen - he is simply a very weak man who displays a veneer of toughness.

He is unable to stand up to the neo-liberal element of the FF party that found it easy to take over the agenda beginning in the late 60s.

They and the people backing them under the finance minister Lenihan control what is left of their power base as the majority of the party have always been populist rogues looking for any surplus they can cream off the table.

(They are now finding it harder to control their foot soldiers as they have less bounty to give).

It is therefore very easy to control from a ideological perspective as most of the FF supporters are brown nosers and arse lickers looking for more cake.

Although it is obviously not a republican party now it had elements of this up to about 1980 and then all that was good with the party died - republican parties weaknesses has always been populism - such is life in a country without any concept of duty.


If a Irish PM gets faint praise from the BBC home service and other such outfits you know he is bent.

It is the litmus test for a politican in Ireland - indeed during the rein of Bertie Ahern he was getting continuous praise from the foregin media establishment - he is now recognized as the most corrupt and disastrous polticans of all.

It is a good sign that Cowen gets the piss taken out of him - he is a weak man unfit for leadership but he not a evil one.

This weakness is exploited by the media with their own agenda.

doolittlegeorge's picture

and many "American Bankers" are in need of these same "Irish bailout bucks" too.  Hence "enter the Sandman" in the form of the IMF.  Needless to say the IMF is "nothing more than an instrument of State policy" so "blaming the IMF is nothing more than blaming the messenger."  I didn't think the USA "had the $750 billion" to fund TARP in 2008.  Obviously "I was only off by a multitude of trillions."  Does it mean "Europe doesn't have the trillion to bail out Spain"?  My first impulse is to say "no f'ing way."  As you can see however "I've been quite wrong before." 

THE DORK OF CORK's picture


You are either a troll or a quite deranged character - I am not quite sure.

RockyRacoon's picture

I think disabling his quote key would be a good start on some rehabilitation.

Commander Cody's picture

The simple point is: Banksters created the risk environment which failed.  They should be held accountable.  The complete burden of a failed financial system is being passed to governments and their populace while the fatcat bastards stay whole and continue to loot.   This is capitalism?  These are free markets?  The world is now under the complete control of banksters gone wild!  Wake up world, your serfdom has arrived and is on your doorstep.

dizzyfingers's picture

Take a bow sir. New name for what's happening around the world: banksterism.

If it is made fun of enough, and made a big enough object of ridicule enough times and in enough places, with enough fanfare, the name will take on a life of its own, and it'll become impossible for anyone to defend it  and still be seen in public. When those who made it happen disappear from tv interviews you'll know it's working.Tactics and the development of such are important.

moneymutt's picture

at least in US it took 8 years from when banks were deregulated and un-policed for the US taxpayers be made to bailout and of course, we were warned too...Senator Dorgan even said there was no compelling reason to deregulate the banks when Gramm bill was pass, he said banks were making good money, there was plenty of financing, credit, why take away safeguards...he said that there would be big bailouts in 10 years, he was 2 years to optmistic.

But in Ireland it happened in 2 freaking years from the point they agreed to be on the hook for the banks' freewheeling. Don't tell me some Richy Riches didn't know what they were doing to Ireland....2 freaking years before wheels fall off, they stick the country with debt way beyond their GDP...the people that engineered this kind of misery on regular folks to make and preserve their wealth are the type of people that would enslave people if they could.