Monday, 5 September 2011
Ireland could pay for the entire African famine relief
Revelations about the hundreds of thousands of euros spent by Anglo Irish Bank on parties, corporate gifts and golf outings in the months before they were bailed out will rightly infuriate the public.
The actions of the Anglo Irish bosses and the recent statements by Bertie Ahern show the level of delusion that plagued Ireland's Celtic Tiger elite.
As bad as this waste of money by Anglo Irish was, the wider picture of what has happened in the last few years is even more shocking.
Consider this; Over 12 million people are threatened by famine in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti. The US estimates that 30,000 children have died so far. The UN says 750,000 people could die in Somalia. Ten children are dying every day in one refugee camp alone.
The UN is seeking $2.4 billion in total to deal with this humanitarian disaster. $2.4 billion, or €1.68 billion. The Irish people have pledged over 17 times that amount to Anglo Irish Bank. As of 2nd September, €1 billion has been pledged to the relief fund, leaving just €675 million to go, or one 43rd of the Anglo Irish bailout.
Unlike the tens of billions we are giving Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank, none of the €29 billion going to Anglo Irish is to recapitalise it, to enable it to continue operating and lending to businesses and households. The bank will be closed and the money is going into a black hole to cover bond debts run up by Anglo Irish.
The reason we have to do this is that the rules of international finance have been fixed so that senior bank bonds must be repaid in full or the entire global economic system will collapse, apparently.
At this stage we still don't know how much the banks are going to cost us. The margin of error in the predicting the final bill isn't in the millions or even the billions, it's in the tens of billions, with estimates going from €70 billion to €100 billion.
Given the amounts involved in the bailout, and the number of lives that would be saved, €675 million is virtually nothing. The Irish government could cover the remaining money needed by the UN to deal with the African famine.
If we're going to bailout the richest people in the world to the tune of €70,000 million or more, there should be no problem with coming up with another €675 million to save some of the poorest people on earth from starving to death.