Protests as anger grows over bailiff threats


The memory of Cromwell and Parnell, Larkin and Connolly were raised this week amid protests over bank repossessions and increased threats to mortgage-holders across Ireland.

At the Shelbourne Hotel on Thursday, protestors disrupted a bank auction of repossessed properties in a manner reminiscent of older times.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath, who attended the protest with Kerry Independent TDs Tom Fleming and Michael Healy-Rae, described the auction by British firm Allsop as the pursuit of “blood money”.

He called on the 26-County Tanaise [deputy Prime Minister] Eamon Gilmore and his advisers to “go see what’s going on with ordinary people’s houses, businesses, family homes”, as well as “the misery being perpetrated by the banks”.

McGrath said the cover of the Allsop catalogue was red, he added and this was appropriate “because there is blood money - and Cromwell is back”, a reference to the conquest of Ireland by the 17th century British imperialist.

Mr McGrath asked the Tanaiste whether he would deal with the code of practice “for the bankers and chancers who are creating misery for people”.

At the protest leaflets were handed out with a quote from Parnell: “When a man takes a farm from which another had been evicted you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him...”

The quote, and the protest itself, recalled the Irish Land League struggle of the late 19th century, when hated British land agent Captain Charles C. Boycott was famously ostracised by the local Mayo community, with the word ‘boycott’ subsequently entering the English language.

Another protest outside the Dail at the weekend was broken up by Gardai amid pushing and shoving. It was one of a number held in response to last week’s leak of phone conversations by executives in Anglo Irish Bank. The conversations in the weeks leading up to that bank’s disastrous collapse, which ended up costing the state in excess of thirty billion euro, put the executives in a poor light.

Meanwhile, eirigi councillor Louise Minihan has slammed changes to the rules governing home repossessions, saying that all evictions from family homes must be fiercely resisted.

A new banking code approved by the Dublin parliament will potentially lead to a dramatic increase in home repossessions. Under the new code, which will come into effect in July 2013, the moratorium on home repossessions will be slashed from twelve months to just two months, clearing the way for the banks evict people in mortgage arrears.

Speaking from Ballyfermot, Councillor Minihan said, “Fine Gael and Labour, in collusion with the Troika, have created an evictions charter for the private banks.

“Once again the people of Ireland are living under the threat of eviction from their homes.”

Latest reports indicate up to 200,000 mortgages are already in arrears.

Quoting a slogan made famous by Larkin and Connolly -- ‘an injury to one is the concern of all’ -- she urged anyone facing eviction or worried about mortgage arrears to discuss the issue with their family, friends and neighbours.

“Where a family is willing to resist eviction ask your local community to support you,” she said. “You’ll find there are more people then you think in similar situations and many more who will be only to happy to help.”

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