Tuesday 25 July 2017

'It can happen to anyone,' says local councillor after house repossessed

Councillor Joe Harris. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Councillor Joe Harris. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A local politician who had his home repossessed said he spoke out publicly about his plight to force government action to help others in his situation.

Independent Councillor Joe Harris, from Douglas, Co Cork, left his home last Monday after falling behind with his mortgage payments.

He quit his home at Shamrock Lawn as agreed with his financial institution - and within hours the receiver had changed all the door and window locks.

The Cork County Council member said he decided to speak about his experiences to increase pressure on the new government for emergency action to help those facing the loss of their homes.

Mr Harris, who lost his home after his once-thriving auctioneering firm collapsed, is currently living with relatives. He insisted he does not want public sympathy but felt obliged to speak out after the spiral of home repossessions nationwide and the eviction controversies at Tyrrelstown in Dublin and Blackrock in Cork.

"The problem is that there are thousands of people in the exactly same situation as me," he said.

"That is the desperately sad story of Ireland in 2016. I know what it is like to worry about your home and then try to come to terms with having to leave the property that you have worked so long and hard for. The truth is that anyone can find themselves in this position."

He said his own experiences convinced him Ireland is now in the throes of an acute housing crisis and called on the next government to take urgent action.

Irish Independent

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