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Ireland needs a Goodwill Patriot Bond
Nov. 30th, 2010

According to Galway West Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames there is an openess among Irish people for a Goodwill patriot fund to help float Ireland again.

In the past few days I received a call from a 73 year old Roundstone man with a unique ‘green jersey’ proposal. He said ‘instead of Ireland being sold out to Europe and the IMF at the exhorbitant interest rate of 5.8%, why doesn’t the Govt. borrow the money from the Irish citizens at half that rate, say 2-3%’. He went onto say ‘Im 73 years old and I would give the Govt. 50 euros per week in return for a bond. My wife would do the same. I’d prefer to see Ireland sold back to Irish people than sold out to Europe or the IMF at twice that rate. Wouldn’t it be better to let Irish people earn the interest than send it abroad to people that dont care as much about our country as we do.’

I have since run this idea by a number of other OAPs and I found an openness to the approach. One person reminded me ‘sure thats how Michael Collins funded the rebuilding of the Irish free state after the civil war. He set up a National loan or a patriot bond. Another OAP said to me ‘its 20 years ago that I was stuck for money, i would certainly be open to it’. Other OAPs said they thought it was a good idea but what they are faced with doing now is helping their adult children and grandchildren meet their bills.

There is more to this proposal than just a simplistic idea. Psychologically, It is empowering. It gives the Irish people a stake in their own country at a time when it feels like we’re losing it. Despite the fact that some people haven’t a penny to their name and others are fighting to hold onto their homes and keep businesses afloat, the fact is there still is c. 98 billion euro in savings in this country. This money is earning paltry interest rates in our banks and there is a further fear mounting among the very same older people that their savings will be taxed.
The leadership in this country has never appealed to the goodwill of the people. Instead it has ‘cut’ people down, Mr. Cowen et al. has been using the wrong approach for too long. At no time has the Taoiseach made a state of the nation address, faced the Irish people and said ‘we got it wrong. we’re sorry and we need your help’. There has been no leadership, there has been no humility.

There is no getting away from the fact that the scale of our banking and deficit problems is huge and that we need outside help at this stage to stay afloat. But in the same way that the National pension reserve fund has had to be raided, it is time that Irish people were given a stake in our country by providing the option of a ‘Goodwill patriot bond’ that is ring-fenced to provide for a dedicated jobs stimulus, not for an election slush fund or Government spinning. Such an initiative is now critical since the national pension reserve fund, our rainy day fund, is gone. We have no funds left to invest in our own country to provide jobs for our young people.

We are experiencing a 1922/ independence moment all over again. Michael Collins set up a National loan where he borrowed from the Irish people to build the Irish free state. I will be making this proposal to the Fine Gael parliamentary party, said Fidelma Healy Eames.