AN uncle of Fine Gael TD Helen McEntee is fronting a new 'Land League' set up to agitate on behalf of distressed borrowers, the Sunday Independent has learned.
Jimmy McEntee, who last week attended the inquest into the death of his brother the late junior minister Shane McEntee, said he got involved with the organisation to help struggling homeowners.
"From what I can see the value of people's houses has been halved. In our view the banks should take half the hit on a mortgage. They took the business risk as well as the householder," Mr McEntee told the Sunday Independent.
Mr McEntee insists the group is apolitical and that his family is in no way linked to the organisation. He said the organisation has three goals: freezing mortgage payments; forcing debt reduction; and fixing interest rates for five years.
"It's the same as the 1870s. This country is in exactly the same position and it's wrecking families," he said.
Mr McEntee said that instead of the landlords it was now the banks who are squeezing ordinary people.
A new website for the organisation, www.the newlandleague.com, states: "The time is now for the man in the street to unite, organise and fight for our basic civil rights."
The new Land League is the latest addition in a range of local groupings set up to campaign on behalf of distressed borrowers, with some now getting involved in what they call "direct action" to stop evictions and repossession of assets.
The groups include 'Friends of Banking Ireland' which along with Mr McEntee's organisation placed an advert in today's newspapers calling for a No vote in the courts referendum.
Last week another group called Anti-Eviction Ireland, which is part of the Independent Resistance Ireland group, lodged an appeal in the High Court against the order obtained by Start Mortgages against Cork couple Martin and Claire O'Sullivan. The order is seeking repossession of the couple's home at Dun an Oir, Kanturk, Co Cork.
The couple have three children under the age of eight and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has called on the Taoiseach to intervene personally in the case.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Sunday Independent has learned that a bench warrant has been issued for the arrest of the anti-eviction activist Charles Allen who, along with a number of others, is alleged to have trespassed on and illegally occupied a stud farm.
Mr Justice Sean Ryan on Friday ruled Charles Allen should be arrested and brought before the High Court to answer claims he is in contempt of court orders in respect of 120 acres of land at Kennycourt Stud in Naas, Co Kildare.