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Dublin: 4 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019
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Anti-eviction activists vow to protect Kanturk family home

The group of about 100 people stopped the O’Sullivan family from being evicted from their Cork house yesterday.

Image: Anti-Eviction Taskforce via Facebook

A NUMBER OF activist groups who have come together to protect a family home against repossession in Kanturk, county Cork have vowed to keep resistance on the ground for as long as it takes.

The O’Sullivan family saw about 100 family, friends and activists rally to ensure the local sheriff “backed off” yesterday as she tried to enforce a High Court order.

Martin and Claire O’Sullivan, along with their three children who are all under the age of 9, face eviction from their property in Ashdale, Dun an Oir despite offers to meet up to 50 per cent of monthly repayments to their subprime mortgage lender.

A group of about 50 people have gathered at the house this afternoon as there are fears the sheriff will return today to enforce the repossession order.

“More people are coming as well,” said spokesperson for the Anti-Eviction Taskforce Denis O’Brien, who noted that a local garda superintendent had visited the site earlier.

The garda press office told TheJournal.ie that the visit was to ensure public order.

The O’Sullivans found themselves in mortgage arrears difficulties after Martin’s plumbing business felt the effects of the recession.

The 35-year-old was self-employed when he put down a deposit of €110,000 on the house in 2007. At the same time, he took out a mortgage loan of €150,000 from Permanent TSB. When his business started to falter, the family remortgaged the property with Start Mortgages.

They had offered to pay up to €400 per month to the lender but a High Court repossession order was obtained without challenge. The family did not send a representative to court as they could not afford the legal fees.

They received a letter from the county sheriff earlier this month to advise them of the imminent eviction.

Another anti-austerity group, Independent Resistance Ireland, has pledged to make legal expertise available to the O’Sullivans.

“Those of us who are acting voluntarily on their behalf have a certain amount of legal expertise – we are determined to contest and appeal the repossession order,” spokesperson Colmán Etchingham told TheJournal.ie.

“That old saying – possession is nine tenths of the law. There are options – people should not be intimidated,” he added.

The groups, who are operating a rota system, say they will keep people on the ground at Ashdale and are confident they will be successful in stopping the repossession.

Reports earlier indicated that protesters were told that their phones would be confiscated if they were taking videos of an eviction. Gardaí clarified that mobile phones can be seized if they are used in the filming of an arrest for evidence.

Read: Mortgage arrears crisis the ‘defining issue of our time’

More: Permanent TSB tells customer in arrears of €200 to sell her house

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