Sunday 19 November 2017

Now Courts Service is hand-delivering repossession letters

Minister Michael Creed: met with bank bosses over crisis. Photo: Tony Gavin
Minister Michael Creed: met with bank bosses over crisis. Photo: Tony Gavin

David Raleigh and Margaret Donnelly

The Courts Service has begun hand-delivering letters to addresses where orders for repossession are to be made by mortgage lenders.

The move in Limerick is part of new security measures to block courtroom demonstrations by anti-eviction protesters. It is understood the practice is unique to Limerick and up to eight letters have been hand-delivered by an appointed messenger to addresses since the start of the year.

Last May the Limerick repossession court was abandoned after more than 100 protesters interrupted proceedings, leading to chaotic scenes in which extra gardaí were called to the court to remove the protesters.

Yesterday a distraught grandmother claimed in court that her lender had not informed her about the case. The plaintiff denied this, and said it had tried "on numerous occasions" to contact her.

The distressed woman, who said she lived at the property with her daughter and granddaughter, began shaking as she addressed the court. "I want to keep my home. I'm literally going to be sick," she said.

The court heard the mortgage had an outstanding balance of €128,691 including arrears of €37,054.55.

Limerick County Registrar Pat Wallace told the woman he had previously decided to grant the repossession order, but allowed her a four-month "trial period" while making a monthly payment of €518 to her lender.

Separately, the Irish Farmers' Association said it would not tolerate stripping of assets with no regard for the family farm. It came after the Farming Independent reported hundreds of farms faced repossession this year as vulture funds swooped on indebted properties.

Asked about the issue, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said one of the first things he did in his role was meet with the CEOs of the pillar banks and impress on them the need to engage with farmers who may have made off-farm investments that could be undermining their core farming activities now.

"I would be disappointed if viable farm enterprises are being dragged down by off-farm investments," he said.

Irish Independent

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