Michael Taft: Today, Jimmy Kelly, Regional Secretary of the trade union UNITE, sent a letter to the leaders of the opposition parties – Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein. In it he called on them to make clear that they will not be bound by the terms of the IMF/EU bail-out. He further called on them to commit to re-opening negotiations based on the following principles:
(a) That the Irish Government will refuse to be bound by the debts generated by the banking sector, and
(b) Ring-fence the cash and assets available to the state in the National Pension Reserve Fund and the National Treasury Management Agency’s cash balances. These should be used for economic and social investment only and not to pay off the deficit or write-down debt.
The text of the letter is below.
On behalf of the UNITE trade union, I am writing to ask that your party declare they will not be bound by the agreement reached yesterday with the EU and the IMF. This agreement is not in the interests of the Irish economy, Irish workers or the Eurozone.
We are further asking that prior to the general election your party declare they will re-open negotiations based on the following principles:
(1) The Irish Government will refuse to be bound by debts generated in the banking sector. If no satisfactory mechanism can be agreed with the IMF and the EU, the Irish Government will engage in a substantial write-down of debt held by all bondholders – including both senior and subordinated debt;
(2) The cash and assets held in the National Pension Reserve Fund and the National Treasury Management Agency’s cash balance will be ring-fenced for public investment in the Irish economy. These resources will not be employed for deficit or debt reduction purposes as this will only undermine our ability to generate growth and employment and, so, defeat the objective of repairing our public finances.
UNITE believes that only by removing banking debt from the public balance sheet and employing our cash and assets for investment purposes can we hope to achieve economic recovery and fiscal stability.
I look forward to receiving your response which I will pass on to our 60,000 members in the Republic.
Thank you for your consideration.