February 9th rallies are your chance to demand relief on the banking debt

Between now and the 9th of February, IMPACT will be encouraging its members, friends and family to attend the Ictu hosted rallies calling for relief on banking debt. There is an urgent need to send a message to the EU leadership, and their presence in Dublin is a timely opportunity to get that message heard.

In recent weeks, you could be forgiven for thinking that the economic crisis is almost at an end. If only that were true.

Any news of ‘green shoots’ is obviously welcome. A marked boost in consumer demand and spending in December and early January, a reasonably good start on the bondmarkets, an unexpected return from Bank of Ireland this week, and talk of a stabilisation of house prices (in south Dublin) all point to light at the end of the tunnel.

But consider the findings of the Nevin Economic Research Unit’s (NERI) quarterly economic survey this week, and a different pattern emerges. NERI has predicted annual GDP growth of less than 1% per annum over the next two years, and a further increase in unemployment in 2013 and 2014.

The economic think-tank, which is affiliated to the Ictu and trade union funded, also predicts a further likely contraction of the domestic economy following Budget 2013. The analysis questions the Government’s capacity to reach its fiscal targets in 2015 and its ability to limit increases in the national debt without significant changes in its policy approach and an improvement in international conditions.

The findings in the report are in contrast to widespread speculation about ‘green shoots’.  But why is this? Quite simply, we have been burdened with an unreasonable and unfair banking debt of €64 billion. It’s a debt that will take generations to pay off. It is a toxic debt, and its toxicity is better known as austerity. It will make short work of decisively killing off any green shoots that emerge.

Ictu have organised a series of rallies nationwide on February 9th in order that citizens can raise their voice and demand that we are given relief on the banking debt. The EU and the Troika have made approving noises about our efforts to deal with this crisis, but there remains a stubborn reluctance, indeed refusal, to follow through on EU promises of debt relief.

It is vitally important to spread the message and urge people to take part. This economic crisis affects us all. It is not confined to trade union movement; every man, woman and child in the country have been affected, and the effects will be felt by future generations, multiple generations.

Stay tuned to impact.ie for details and updates of the venues and arrangements on February 9th. Tell everyone you know, it might just be the most important protest in a century.

Niall Shanahan
Communications Officer