Events unfolding in Cyprus where that country decided, with agreement from the EuroZone group of finance ministers, that sub-€100,000 depositors would be subjected to a 6.75% levy, show that Ireland had choices when it came to dealing with bondholders, and that it still has choices.
The Cork parish of Ballyhea has been protesting against the bondholder and wider bank bailout, for 108 weeks, with weekly protests which now alternate between Ballyhea and the nearby town of Charleville. They’ve also gone on the road in the past, with a walk/jog/run/cycle/crawl to Leinster House to hand in a petition, they’ve protested outside the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt and made their grievances known to Irish central bank governor, Patrick Honohan, they’ve held protests across Munster, Leinster, Connacht and Ulster and they’ve presented their protest across every medium that would listen, including nationally and internationally on TV.
Today at midday, seven of the protesters will be meeting with a group of MEPs in the European Parliament in Brussels. They will be meeting with British MEP, Sharon Bowles, chair of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, who has in the past been vocal in her support for debt relief for Ireland. The protesters will again be setting out their case and requesting the MEPs to facilitate a meeting between the protesters and the ECB.
There will be coverage later on here today following their meeting. You can find further details of the protest including photographs and video here. Protester spokesperson Diarmuid O’Flynn has written an article on today’s meeting.