Monday 18 February 2019

Profile: Beades the builder in a league of his own

Jerry Beades
Jerry Beades
Kim Bielenberg

Kim Bielenberg

Jerry Beades rose to prominence as an acolyte of Bertie Ahern and member of the so-called "Drumcondra mafia".

Now, the colourful builder and concrete king with a history of conflict with banks is the driving force behind the New Land League, the eccentric outfit that tried to stop the O'Donnells being removed from their palatial home.

In the annals of political activism, the sight of the league's stewards in hi-viz vests outside a mansion with a swimming pool must rank as among the most bizarre. But as one of the league's leaders, Mr Beades (above) is well used to spectacular gestures.

The Northside builder was once a member of the Fianna Fáil national executive, moving close to the centre of power. At one Ard Fheis in 2009, he stood for re-election, ordering 30 life-size cardboard cutouts of US President Barack Obama with the slogan: "Obama says Vote Jerry Beades."

He has also been chairman of Friends of Banking Ireland, a lobby group for disgruntled bank customers.

The New Land League almost emerged by accident in 2013 when a group was on its way to protest outside the old Anglo-Irish bank building. They came across an Allsop auction of distressed properties. Mr Beades was among the throng that brought the auction to a halt and set up a movement to stop similar auctions.

The protesters' grasp of history has not always been apparent. At one protest, one prominent league campaigner Tom Darcy said: "Constant Markievicz gave up his life to enable us to eradicate suppression."

It was the wrong name, wrong sex, and Constance did not give up her life, but everybody is entitled to their point of view.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News