Sunday 24 June 2018

Politicians accused of 'going round a wheel like hamsters'

Ken Smollen addresses the audience at the meeting in Portlaoise.
Ken Smollen addresses the audience at the meeting in Portlaoise.

Stan Henderson

Politicians have been accused of "going around on a hamster wheel" over the formation of a government while the housing crisis deepens.

Up to 200 people attended a meeting in Portlaoise over mortgage arrears and the danger of evictions. It was organised by former garda sergeant Ken Smollen.

Mr Smollen said: "Enough is enough. If the Government and the banks won't co-operate, we must discuss and plan for other possibilities, whatever they may be.

"People can no longer be held captive in their homes, waiting until the banks come knocking on the door with threats of evictions.

"There are potentially 200,000 people facing what is the biggest crisis in the country but has been well hidden."

Four TDs attended the meeting - Fianna Fáil's Seán Fleming, Sinn Féin's Cathleen Funchion and Independents Michael Fitzmaurice and Kevin 'Boxer' Moran.

Deirdre Dempsey, who had travelled from Tipperary, told the politicians: "It is your job to deal with this crisis. You chose to be politicians, just like doctors chose to be doctors.

"We are going around on a hamster wheel for the past number of weeks without a government even being agreed upon."

She added that when she was a child, members of the banks would come into her classroom and would give them piggy banks, asking that they fill them and then lodge their money into their bank "to gain our trust".

Her emotional comments received a standing ovation.

Several people told of being forced to sell their belongings to pay off the banks, then being evicted anyway.

They also spoke of the harassment they claimed they had received from the banks and of other people they knew who had taken their own lives.

Irish Independent

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