A mother-of-two who owes €400,000 to her bank and lives in a garage since her house was repossessed, now faces the chilling prospect of her garage being repossessed.
Munster woman Gillian broke down in tears on RTE Radio’s Liveline today as she told Joe Duffy that her family will be homeless if the bank repossesses her small garage.
She told Joe Duffy that she “hit rock bottom” when she received a letter from her bank on January 14. The letter said that the bank will request repossession of the garage in the High Court within three months.
“Basically we had a company, and when the recession hit, the company went into liquidation. Basically we lost everything,” Gillian told Liveline.
“For the last five years, we’ve been trying to fight with the bank. We had one home repossessed by them in February 2010. Now we have a three-month warning where we are going to be in repossession again.”
“We thought that by giving them the [first] house years ago that they’d be able to sell it and bring our debt down.”
“We had planning permission to build the garage – a small structure. We built the garage and we’re living in it. We put in a kitchen and some bedrooms.”
“It’s not a dwelling. It’s a garage... If they take this back, we’ll essentially be homeless.”
When she received the bank’s letter in January, Gillian said she “hit rock bottom”. She is on anti-depressants and describes herself as a mother who is merely just “functioning” for the sake of her two children.
Her situation feels so desperate she says, that she even contemplated suicide.
“I hit rock bottom [when I got the letter]. Suicide was at the forefront of my mind,” she said, breaking down in tears.
Despite her efforts to negotiate with the bank, they have insisted on repossession, and the bank have refused to deal with New Beginning, an organisation which offers free legal representation for mortgage holders in arrears.
“We’ve been asking for deals for the last four years. We’re paying €750 a month which is not a full payment, but just before Christmas we offered €1000 a month.”
“We’re begging them saying ‘please give us the opportunity to make this better and we can’.”
“My husband is self-employed. He’s gone constantly. We might only see him at 10pm at night. He does get work; he can make a wage.”
“They (the bank) want a voluntary sale or a voluntary surrender. That’s what are options are from the bank.”
“We’re just asking them to give us a bit of breathing space so that we can move on and get sorted with this. It’s completely horrendous... and the fact that we blame ourselves; that we’re causing this for our children.”
“They’re being constantly put on the backburner because we need to sort this.”
The woman said that she fears now that her friends and family see her as someone bringing news of “doom and gloom” whenever she meets them.
She added: “We don’t laugh. There’s no laughter in our house. We’re only just [still standing]. We’re at the stage now where we’re falling.”
“We’ve two children who can’t even go out and play. And we don’t know whether we’ll be moving or not.”
“We thought that our children didn’t know the difference but we were driving one evening and admiring all the lights in the houses, and our oldest said to us ‘when can we live in a proper home like other people’s families?’”