The Irish Congress of Trade Unions warned today (30th January) that Ireland faced “the most dire consequences” without a significant deal on the country’s €64 billion bank debt burden. Speaking at a briefing on the February 9 demonstrations that have been organised by Congress in protest at the bank debt burden, General Secretary David Begg said the bank debt now threatened the well-being of future generations.“This country faces the most dire consequences unless this burden is lifted and future generations will pay a heavy price unless a significant deal is done, at European level.“It is extraordinary to think that a country with a workforce of 1.8 million has been saddled with a debt of €64 billion and that Ireland has the highest bailout bill in the Eurozone, larger even than Germany (€41 for Ireland, €40 billion for Germany).“It is even more extraordinary to think that every person in Ireland has already been hit for €9,000 to pay for the incompetence of senior management in the broken banks, while the average cost across the EU is a mere €192 per head. We have paid almost 50 times what everyone else has paid!“These figures show both the extraordinary unfairness of what has happened and how utterly unsustainable this bank debt burden is,” Begg said.He urged people from all sectors of society to participate in the February 9 protests: “This is an issue that transcends all others….there is no more critical issue facing Irish society at this juncture.“And given the timing involved, this may be our last chance to shape and influence the resolution of this problem. I suspect that if people do not participate on 9th February, they will come to regret that decision in future years as the full import and significance of this unjust burden becomes clearer,” he said.The demonstrations will take place in six locations across the country: Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Sligo.The theme of the protests is Lift the Burden: Jobs Not Debt