Joe Higgins condemns chaotic and grotesque rush of IBRC Bill

Next Saturday’s ICTU demonstrations should call for a repudiation of the debt and name the date for day of strike action to take on austerity agenda

In his speech in the Dáil in the early hours of this morning Joe Higgins railed against the government’s rushing of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Bill 2013:

“This is a chaotic and grotesque way to run a State by any standards. It is symbolic, however, of the anarchy by which the financial markets operate and symbolic of the dictatorship of those financial markets, in front of which Governments all over Europe, most notably the Irish Government, prostrate themselves to do their bidding while bleeding working class people to bail out their system. My first thoughts are with the 800 workers, most of whom are ordinary working people, in this bank who are to be summarily and brutally sacked from their jobs tomorrow morning if the legislation goes through, and who are dependent on NAMA as to whether they will be rehired. The transfer of undertakings does not apply so they can find themselves severely disadvantaged. They are being treated as pawns in this fiasco of high finance.

“This does not in any way cancel the disastrous private debts undertaken by Fine Gael and the Labour Party, following their predecessors in Fianna Fáil, and placed on the shoulders of the Irish people as a result of the disaster that was Anglo Irish Bank and its speculation. Section 17 of the Bill makes clear in setting out the scenario whereby this Government will continue to honour the incredible debts that have been placed on our people, private gambling debts for which we have no responsibility.

“The financial establishment of European capitalism is dictating everywhere that working people, the poor and unemployed, shall be bled through austerity to meet the bad gambling debts of the financial system. The European financial market system is a broken system, utterly dysfunctional and parasitic on society. Governments, including this Government, at the behest of these markets, are breaking society through savage austerity and crushing with economic misery tens of millions of people.

“This Bill is part of the whole rotten infrastructure and architecture of that market system and it should be roundly rejected. It is past time the working people of Europe, the poor and the pensioners, rose up to bring down this system to have a financial system that is democratically owned and controlled in the interests of the majority instead of holding literally trillions of uninvested profits for big business while 25 million Europeans languish in unemployment. That is the alternative to the charade we are being forced to hear tonight.”

After the debate turning his attention to Saturday’s demonstrations called by ICTU he added:

“In the debate about the terms the ECB will or won’t agree to we cannot lose sight of the fact that this is odious debt that should not be paid.

“So the trade union leadership cannot in any way paint what happened last night nor any subsequent detail that emerges over the next 24 hours regarding the duration and interest rate that will apply for the repayments as a victory or concession. Contrary to what the ICTU leadership is saying this is not a government to be ‘supported’ in its efforts to get a deal on a writedown. Rather and the next step should be the calling of a one day national strike that brings together all who oppose austerity in a concerted political act of opposition to Fine Gael and Labour’s failed strategy.”