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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Family facing home eviction overwhelmed with unexpected support

Louise Hogan

Published 25/03/2014 | 18:08

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UP to 50 people staged a protest at the home of a family facing eviction in Co Kildare. (Inset) Ian Fitzgibbon (52), from Kerdiff Park, Monread Road in Naas
Ian Fitzgibbon (52), from Kerdiff Park, Monread Road in Naas
UP to 50 people staged a protest at the home of a family facing eviction in Co Kildare.

UP to 50 people staged a protest at the home of a family facing eviction in Co Kildare.

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Ian Fitzgibbon (52), from Kerdiff Park, Monread Road in Naas, told of his "shock" after neighbours, friends and strangers came out to support the father-of-two when he received a phone call from the Sheriff's Office to state they were being evicted.

"I got a telephone call to say he was going ahead with a possession order and he asked me to move my wife and children out of the house," he said.

However, the family said there was no appearance of the Sheriff at their home as expected at lunchtime and they were now awaiting further contact from the office at Naas circuit court about the ejectment order.

The Sheriff’s office does not comment on ejectment orders issued to grant “clear possession” of premises following court proceedings.

People gathered at their home - including TD Mattie McGrath, developer Jerry Beade, other people facing repossession and groups including 'Friends of Banking Ireland’ and ‘Landleague’ - for hours as the family kept watch.

“We don’t know half of these people - all we can say is thanks a million,” he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon said the home they purchased in the mid-90s and that he shares with his wife, and two children, is not in negative equity.

Mr Fitzgibbon, who worked with ACC Bank from 2000 to 2005, and held a position as executive manager of operations, told how the pair had in 2003 remortgaged the home for €300,000 with ACC Bank.

"All we've asked is to meet an officer of the bank face to face with a representative to come up with an agreement," said Mr Fitzgibbon.

"All we've wanted for five years is to talk to the bank. I was made redundant and fell behind (in 2008), like every single person in the country."

However, he gained employment again and is currently in a full-time job with a good salary.

However, he stated they were able to service the debt but the bank has not agreed to take any of their offers in writing.

"This isn't about whether we can make any payments. We've offered to make lump sums, we've offered to make small sums."

An independent valuation of the house estimated it was worth between €420,000-€425,000.

"We only owe €300,000, it is serviceable debt. The only reason I'm in this position is the bank have not sat around the table to talk to me ever, anybody I've seen in the last five years from the bank is either a barrister or a solicitor.

"I've written to the bank umpteen times asking them to engage with me and my wife and they haven't," he said.

"They have no respect for people, people's marriages, everyone in my position is working damn hard trying to keep houses, look after their futures everything, build for their kids, they do not have a clue about the pressures they are putting on marriages."

“ACCBank for reasons of confidentiality cannot comment on specifics of this case, as the bank does not comment on individual customers,” said a spokeswoman for the bank.

Mr Beade, from Friends of Banking Ireland, said they have been seeking legal advice in relation to section 133 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act of 2009.

He stressed they believe that under the act the power of the sheriff to carry out such an order is “abolished” except in relation to lands used for operation of a business.

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