Retired Garda policeman Kevin Taylor has spoken about the background to the raid by a loyalist eviction gang at the McGann family home in Roscommon, who attacked him with the support of serving Gardai.
Retired Garda Kevin Taylor was kicked and punched 20 or 30 times by a gang hired by KBC Bank in a vicious assault which Gardai have refused to say was illegal.
Mr Taylor served as a police officer for 30 years in County Longford, and is a friend of the McGann family, who live in Falsk, four kilometes outside Strokestown, County Roscommon.
He said the family started to become concerned about a potential confrontation last Tuesday.
“At about 8.30am on Tuesday we were aware that there could be an eviction. Anthony [McGann] was trying to deal with the bank [KBC Bank] and he told them he was happy to pay them so much a month, at least 1,000 euro,” he said.
“But KBC Bank wouldn’t do any discussions with him whatsoever. They’ve lived there for generations and they would have paid back what they could have afforded if they got a fair chance.”
He said suspicions started initially when a man described as a ‘decoy’ approached Anthony and claimed he had “put a deposit down for the land”.
He added: “About 30 minutes later Geraldine [Anthony’s sister] went out and next thing she started shouting: ‘They’re trying to break in’.
“They broke down the lock and got in and we all went out the back door into the yard.
“We had the yard fenced off with a chain but they’d already cut that. They weren’t [aggressive] straight away, this lad came in with a folder and documents in the folder.
“He made out this document was a court order. All I could see was KBC printing over it and small print.
“It was definitely not a court order because if you saw a court order you’d be able to see if it was a High Court order or a Circuit Court order, it’d be written on the top.
“There was no court order whatsoever. He wouldn’t expose it fully, he just gave us a small glimpse and then he closed it.
“The thugs attacked me first. That’s when they started with the heavy aggro. We didn’t get a chance [to respond]. It was completely illegal.”
Mr Taylor said there was five or six of them in the yard when the violence erupted.
He explained: “Four or five of them attacked me. We were just going to make our stand. I didn’t say anything and I swear didn’t lift a fist and they were on top of me.
“They eventually pushed me down to the ground and they were trying to drag me out and I managed to knock one of them down. He was a thug who was dragging me forward and I was able to get my arms around his legs and pull him down.
“I was just trying to protect myself. The minute he got up there was four or five bent down on top of me and I was punched 20 to 30 times. It happened in front of two guards.
“They were just there and watched and eventually when the [security personnel] did leave me I went to the two guards and I told them: ‘The purpose of ye’re presence at this incident is to prevent a breach of the peace. There’s been a serious breach of the peace and you’ve done nothing about it’.
“The guards made it out it happened on private ground.”
He said that he has since suffered from concussion and headaches.
Mr Taylor also said that the local Gardai closed two roads without any authority.
He said: “There was two entrances to the house, one roadway from Strokestown to Tulsk and another back road from Elphin to Tulsk, they were both closed off on the instruction of a Garda superintendent.
“They had no authority to do it as there was a county councillor passing by at the time and they tried to stop him from going up and they said, ‘Where’s your authority to close the road? You have to advertise it unless there’s a serious accident’.
“There was two guards at the end of the road and more detectives in cars as well. The lunatics running the asylum it seems.”
Mr Taylor, who retired 11 years ago, said: “It’s completely brutal what’s going on.
“A sergeant said he couldn’t go into private grounds when I was being assaulted but he went into the private grounds to discuss matters with the head security man.”