Saturday 21 September 2019

Feelings of anger over evictions run deep in local area

Stock photo
Stock photo
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

The stench of burning engine fumes continued to linger around the vandalised home in Co Roscommon last night.

Nothing could have prepared the men who had been hired to guard this repossessed farmhouse in Strokestown for the violent attack they were about to face.

With no street lights in sight, their attackers arrived under the cover of darkness, brandishing baseball bats and fire-lighting equipment.

The destruction they inflicted in such a short space of time was horrific.

Up to eight security men were injured and four vehicles were set alight. A dog caught up in the melee suffered injuries so severe that a vet had no choice but to put him down.

The lone bungalow was left in a pitiful state after the assailants had successfully completed their task of destruction. The smashed windows, the kicked-through front door and the gates torn from their hinges made it clear that this was an attack fuelled by pure anger.

Putrid

A bright flame continued to burn through the remains of the smouldering vehicles, sending putrid fumes into the night's sky. But while the actions of these men are being widely condemned in the rural community, their motives are not being questioned.

The distressing footage of a farmer being forced out of his home earlier last week had sparked feelings of anger around Strokestown.

The farmer and his family have been described as "pillars of their community". He had battled through significant financial difficulties in recent years, but like so many others in Ireland, he could no longer afford to live in his home.

According to Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice, the video of the eviction struck a chord with many people.

He said: "A lot of people in rural Ireland have had enough of evictions and vulture funds and won't stand idly back and watch families being kicked out of their homes.

"If you look at the history of Ireland, the issue around land and property runs very deep in rural Ireland, which is something that not everyone understands."

Mr Fitzmaurice added: "Violence won't solve anything, but banks have to start rethinking about alternative ways to handle rent arrears in a much more civil way."

Irish Independent

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