independent

Thursday 2 October 2014

100 DAYS Family facing eviction still living behind a barricade

'LOOKS LIKE I'LL HAVE CHRISTMAS DINNER BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD'

MARISA REIDY

Published 28/11/2012 | 09:15

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A farmer and his family who have spent over 100 days behind barricades in a standoff against the banks and bailiffs are still living with the threat of eviction hanging over them.

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In August Seamus Sherlock and his five children constructed a mini fortress at their Feoghanagh home in West Limerick after being served with an eviction order over an outstanding dept of €250,000 to Bank of Scotland.

The vocal anti-eviction campaigner says he wants to repay the debt but has been unable to hold negotiations with his bank in the hope of resolving the issue. Now he and his young family now face the prospect of Christmas dinner at the side of the road, fearing the arrival of bailiffs.

"It looks like I'll be having Christmas dinner by the side of the road," he said. "Three neighbours have already offered to cook dinner for us and others have said they'll be here standing with me on Christmas day. The support is incredible, but it's not easy with this hanging over us." A WEST Limerick farmer who barricaded himself and his five children into their home after being served with an eviction order over 100 days ago, is now facing the grim reality of Christmas dinner at the side of the road, as he and his supporters continue to stand guard against the bailiffs.

On Sunday, Seamus Sherlock from Feohanagh marked his 100th day of protest against the eviction order, with over 75 supporters joining him at the fortress he has erected at his home to keep bailiffs out. He also received a call from renowned singer, Christy Moore, who has pledged his support and promised to visit in the coming weeks.

Mr Sherlock has so far been unable to open negotiations with Bank of Scotland on how he can repay his €250,000 debt leaving him and his children in constant fear of being evicted.

Incredibly, Mr Sherlock's supporters are continuing to stand with him more than three months on, some still camping out at the farm overnight for extra protection. The road-side entrance to Mr Sherlock's farm remains manned 24-hours a day and he and his supporters have also barricaded an inside gate leading to the family home with almost 60 bales of silage.

"It's a terrible situation to be in, not knowing if and when this is going to happen, but the fear of being evicted is still very much there ever day," Mr Sherlock said. "I'm honoured and overwhelmed by the support and can't thank the people enough who come down and stay with me every night."

Mr Sherlock said that his five children - who range in age from 12 to 22 years - are remaining remarkably upbeat, but says it is incredibly tough with Christmas around the corner.

"It looks like I'll be having Christmas dinner by the side of the road," he said. "Three neighbours have already offered to cook dinner for us and others have said they'll be here standing with me on Christmas day. The support is incredible but it's not easy with this hanging over us."

The separated father fell behind on his mortgage payments after being forced to cease his turf supply business three years ago because of an EU ban on turf-cutting on protected raised bogs. Since taking his stand in August he has always insisted that he is not looking for any writedown, just more time to repay what he owes.

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