Protesters to ramp up action in 'year of the repossession'

Activists are warning that everybody in the 'dispossession industry had better watch out'

Protesters to ramp up action in 'year of the repossession'

Photo: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Many experts working in the debt management industry are predicting that family home repossessions will skyrocket in 2017.

Debate continues over the scale of repossessions we are likely to see, but it seems certain there will be a increase compared to recent years.

Various groups, meanwhile, are planning to resist the trend and fight to keep families in their homes.

On one end of the spectrum, there are people and groups who offer advice and assistance in negotiating settlements with banks.

In stark contrast, more militant activists speak of '100 men in balaclavas' blocking repossession efforts.

There are, of course, more moderate activists - some of whom have been involved in high-profile cases.

Jerry Beades is involved in the New Land League and the Friends of Banking group. Mr Beades and other activists made national headlines in 2015 during the 'Battle for Gorse Hill' - the legal challenge launched by Brian O'Donnell and his wife Mary Patricia over a property in Killiney, Dublin.

Talking to Newstalk Breakfast reporter Kieran Cuddihy, Mr Beades said he does believe that 2017 is going to be the 'year of repossessions'. 

"It's already kicked off," he argued. "From the amount of letters people are getting... all the various groups are getting people coming in in desperation.

"It's outrageous that an Irish government, 100 years on from 1916, that a government would just walk away from its people."

How are activists attempting to confront the increased number of evictions?

"All of the groups have been talking... really we're going to ramp up dealing with vulture funds," Jerry explained.

"The farming community's view is that they're not going to stand for evictions. The same is going to happen on the family home situation."

Ben Gilroy, a long-time activist, said: "We will be targeting specific targets - what we call legitimate targets.

"We will be targeting vulture funds and anybody supporting them. We already have plans in place to start targeting certain buildings around the country - I'm not going to say too much about where. 

"Everybody in that dispossession industry - and that's what it is, by the way, a dispossession industry - had better watch out," he added.