The idea of a meme is that its a concept, a psychological or cultural trait, that propagates Like anything that propegates it can only do so if it is allowed to. Thus we have seen grow up the meme that Ireland did not pay the 3.1b which was due in March 2012 on the Anglo Irish Promissory Note. This is sown by ministers who either do know (so they are telling untruths) or should know (in which case they are not able to read government accounts and thus we might question their fitness to be in high office). It is however fertilized by the unquestioning swallowing of this by the media, print and broadcast, who again either dont know (why then are they questioning on issues wherein they are ignorant) or know but dont care to press (why then are they pretending to be impartial journalists?)
Here are some recent examples
- Minister Pat Rabbitt “We didn’t pay the promissory note this year and as far as I’m concerned we’re not going to pay it next year. It’s as simple as that”
- Minister for Finance Michael Noonan (this time speaking on the record in the Dail) “did not pay it last year and I have signalled to the Europeans and nationally that I am not disposed to pay it this year”
- Minister Leo Varadkar (points for accuracy, deducted for illogic) “The payment is due at the end of March and certainly in my view we didn’t pay it last year and issued a bond to avoid paying it.“
- Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore “The Government didn’t pay the promissory note last year“
These statements are simply false (with the exception of Varadkar’s comment which seems to see issuance of a bond as being somehow not a payment….one wonders what the conversations round the cabinet table are like). We paid. In full. This has been explained succinctly in a letter to the Irish Times and more fully in a blogpost by Constantin Gurdgiev. It was explained quite fully back in April by Karl Whelan.
Here it is again : NAMA (us) gave IBRC (us) the money which IBRC gave to the Central Bank (us). Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland (35% of which is us) lent this money on a one year basis to IBRC which lent it to NAMA. In March 2013 not only do we need to pay the 3.1b to the Central Bank but Bank of Ireland need to either extend that loan or it needs to be repaid.
The Anglo note was repaid in 2012. To say otherwise is to deceive oneself or to try to deceive others. Ministers need to stop doing so and the media need to stop facilitating this delusion. Oh, and someone needs to ask Minister Noonan to correct his (no doubt inadvertent) misleading of the Dail.
a) As Karl Whelan notes the key facts are : did IBRC get 3.1b? Was that used to extinguish ELA? Answer to both is yes. The mechanics of what arm of the state did what when is of technical interest only.