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'I've lost about a stone in weight - that's my contribution to Ireland's cause'

Irish Examiner sports journalist renews his anti-bondholder protest by launching a seven-day “bread and water” fast.

Diarmuid O'Flynn, centre, on one of the weekly marches in Ballyhea.
Diarmuid O'Flynn, centre, on one of the weekly marches in Ballyhea.
Image: Twitter

IRISH EXAMINER HURLING writer Diarmuid O’Flynn has relaunched his efforts to rally opposition to the EU/IMF bailout by embarking on a seven-day “bread and water” fast.

Enraged by the colossal sums which the Irish people are handing over to European bondholders each month, O’Flynn has become more and more consumed by a protest movement which started off with small weekly marches in his native Ballyhea, Co Cork.

When those efforts failed to grab the public’s attention, he stepped up his action in June, setting off on a three-day run from Cork to Dublin to deliver an anti-bondholder petition to the government.

Those protests were met with widespread, if unsurprising, indifference as well, O’Flynn told TheScore.ie this afternoon. But that hasn’t stopped him from starting the fast which will be his “last throw of the dice.”

Since last Sunday, O’Flynn has had nothing to eat and drink but bread and water, a symbol of “the penal condition to which the ECB will have us reduced should we continue [...] redeeming in full all the current failed bank bonds, as directed by them.”

Though he has no formal economic training, he has spent a huge amount of his free time trying to educate himself in the ins and outs of Ireland’s financial mess.

“I’ve spent every waking moment on this for the last few months,” he said. “Everyone around me has suffered. My social life, my hobbies, my family, they’ve all been neglected.”

His latest campaign comes at a particularly important time for the country’s finances. According to his own estimates, Ireland owes €444m in bank bonds to be repaid this month, with 10 times that amount – over €4bn – due at the end of September.

“This is happening at a time when the government had to close an autistic school in Dublin because they couldn’t find €100,000 in funding.

This is human suffering we’re talking about here. People are being subjugated for capital.

Despite this, O’Flynn says, the people of Ireland have succumbed to passivity as far as the bondholders are concerned. The mainstream media, he adds, have been just as negligent in their coverage of opposition to the bailout terms.

“With regards to people taking notice of us, it’s the same old story all over again. But then, I figured this was going to happen.

“We’ve been holding weekly parades in Ballyhea for the last 22 weeks and in Charleville for the last six weeks, but they’ve been totally ignored by the media. It’s as if they’ve decided that there’s a blanket ban on covering any protests.

There’s an old saying that the more people that witness a crime, the less likely it is that somebody will report it. This is the biggest bank heist in the history of the state.

Despite the reaction to his previous protests, O’Flynn will not be deterred and he is adamant that the community marches in Cork will continue every week, even if his latest personal effort ends in further disappointment.

“When I get into something, I get into it 100%,” he explains. “Even when I was a young fella playing hurling, I was always trying to fight someone else’s fight.”

“I’ve lost about a stone in weight – that’s my contribution to Ireland’s cause.”

READ - O’Flynn bitterly disappointed by response to anti-bondholder protest >

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About the author:

Niall Kelly

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