Thursday 15 November 2018

Gene Kerrigan: Lest we forget the madness of paying banks' gambling debts

Month after month, a village bears witness to the insanity of the payments, writes Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan

The invitation to the first march came on an A4 sheet, eight months ago, and it was the essence of civility. "Short, sharp, silent," it said, "No placard, no chant." Those who felt angry about what was happening should gather in the church car park and march to the speed limit sign on the edge of the village. No speech-making. "Bring only your anger."

And, this morning in the north Cork village of Ballyhea, after the second Mass, the 38th weekly march was scheduled to take place. A 10-minute walk from St Mary's car park to the speed limit sign on the edge of the village, and back. Over the months, the march has acquired a banner: "Ballyhea Says No! To Bond-Holder Bail-Out." A small upsurge of spirit in a frightened, diffident country.

It began with a local man, Diarmuid O'Flynn, a sports journalist with the Irish Examiner. He wrote to TDs, protesting about the bailout of bondholders, and got form letters in reply. Last March, O'Flynn rang around friends and relatives. A dozen people turned up in the church car park, and they had their quiet, dignified march, and the rest of us didn't notice.

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