(YouTube: Tony Rochford)
THIS 44-YEAR-OLD MAN says he has lost over a stone in weight after a week on hunger strike to oppose the property tax.
Tony Rochford, who lives in Trim in Co Meath, says he began the strike last week as he had “no other form of protest, no way to show my anger”.
Rochford says he bought his house in October 2008 for €480,000 – without reason to think that his business doing household marble installations would be at risk.
Only a few weeks later, however, work dried up – with Rochford saying on YouTube he had been “wiped out” within months. He believes his home is now worth €260,000 – around half of the amount he paid to buy and decorate the home.
“At this stage I can’t pay my full mortgage. I’m on a moratorium. I have been on a moratorium for a few years,” he says in the video.
In his video – published to YouTube last week – Rochford admits to having “hit the bottle pretty hard” around Christmas 2010, as his financial problems became more intense.
Because he subsequently sought treatment for his alcohol problems, he says, the price of his life assurance – which is necessary for his mortgage – has tripled.
“I can’t deal with my problems and now the government is just loading it on,” he said, discussing his plans to start a hunger strike.
Though he has not posted a video update since his first video, Rochford has posted comments to the video outlining the weight he has lost the start.
His most recent update, posted this morning, said he had lost 16 lbs in his eight days without food and that he was planning a protest outside the Four Courts in Dublin next Monday morning.
In another comment, he wrote: “I will more than likely die in vain, but it’s not because I stopped fighting”.
“I was on the streets in 1985 in London, and I’m fecked if I’m going back on them again,” he says in the video. “I’ll die in my house before my sheriff comes through the door.”
TheJournal.ie has this evening tried to contact Rochford, but contact had not been returned by the time of publication.