independent

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Family's stand against eviction makes US news

150 DAYS LIVING BEHIND BARRICADES

MARISA REIDY

Published 09/01/2013 | 10:20

AFTER almost five months living behind a barricade to protect his family from the threat of eviction from their home, the plight of anti West Limerick farmer Seamus Sherlock made international headlines this month when his story was picked up by The New York Times.

Mr Sherlock, ( pictured right), who this Sunday will have spent 150 days behind barricades in a standoff against the banks and bailiffs, featured in the prestigious US newspaper alongside his sons in a pictorial feature about the state of the Irish economy.

Last August Mr Sherlock and his five children constructed a mini fortress at their Feoghanagh home after being served with an eviction order over an outstanding debt of €250,000 to Bank of Scotland. The single father says he wants to repay the debt but has been unable to hold negotiations with his bank in the hope of resolving the issue.

The New York Times' feature depicts the surreal setting at Appletown Farm, from the man himself keeping a look out for the bailiffs, to his sons trying to go about their daily business and tending to the animals.

Mr Sherlock spent Christmas Day and St Stephen's Day at home with his five children, having sent his ever increasing entourage of supporters who act as guards and watchmen home for the festival season. But while he was quietly confident that the bailiffs would not arrive over the holiday period, he says the threat of eviction is as strong this week as it was when he took up refuge 150 days ago.

"You just never know if or when they will arrive and we're getting no communication so the lads are back at the gate and some are still sleeping here overnight in case it happens," Mr Sherlock said.

To further highlight his situation, Mr Sherlock is inviting supporters to his own ' gathering' this Sunday, to mark 150 days behind the barricades. Among some of his more high profile supporters are singers Christy Moore and Declan Sinnott, who have promised to visit the farm in the coming weeks

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 write-down of his debt, just more time to repay what he owes

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