The Irish Congress of Trade confirmed today (Thursday, 7th February) that the countrywide protests arranged for six locations on Saturday, 9th February, will go ahead as planned. Congress General Secretary, David Begg, said: “While the proposal put to the European Central Bank appears to spread the cost of the Promissory Note over a longer period the key fact remains that 1.8 million working people cannot possibly sustain a bank debt burden of €64 billion. The numbers don’t add up. “The theme of the February 9 protests is Lift the Burden – Jobs Not Debt.  Congress views the Promissory Note as only one element of the bank debt problem.  The other key element is the necessity to honour the commitment to implement the European Council Agreement of June, 29, 2012, on allowing the ESM to recapitalise banks.” The protests on Saturday, 9th February, will take place in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Sligo, with people asked to assemble from 1.30 p.m. in all locations. While acknowledging that restructuring the Promissory Note, if achieved, should improve Ireland’s creditworthiness, Begg noted that Ireland’s debt to GDP ratio would reach 120% next year. “At the onset of the crisis Ireland had one of the lowest debt to GDP ratios in Europe. The significant difference between then and now is due entirely to Ireland socialising bank debt at the behest of the ECB, to save the European banking system.  “9th February is an opportunity for Irish people to convey to the authorities in Europe our firm conviction that the debt is not morally down to the people of Ireland.” Recent Eurostat figures show that Ireland has borne 42.6% of the total net cost of the European bank debt crisis. This means each Irish citizen has paid €9,000 while the average per capita cost across 27 Member States is just €191. Begg said that Irish people should register a strong protest against this unfairness: “Five years into the crisis, it is clear that one sided austerity is not working. The approach to fiscal consolidation must be rebalanced to allow for investment for job creation. If agreement is reached to restructure the Promissory Note the opportunity should be then taken to at least treble the jobs stimulus package of last July.” Begg expressed concern for the future of the 800 people affected by the liquidation of IBRC and said Congress would be available to assist the IBOA, if needed. Meanwhile, top comedy, rap, punk poetry and pop acts will provide the entertainment at the Dublin rally. Among the acts that have been comfirmed in Dublin's Merrion Square, are: Comedian Barry Murphy of Apres Match and Irish Pictorial Weekly fame; Mundy and his band; Finglas rapper Temper-Mental MissElayneous and punk poet Jinx Lennon.