Mortgage row farmer barricades family in home for Christmas

18/08/2010 Seamus Sherlock from Newcastle West, Limerick protesting in chains outside ESB, HQ on Merrion Square, Dublin.Seamus is being threatend with disconnection by the ESBPhoto: Gareth Chaney Collins

Barry Duggan

A FARMER and his five children whose home is under the threat of repossession will be barricaded into their farm for the Christmas holidays.

On August 16, Seamus Sherlock, pictured, blocked the main driveway at his farm in Feohanagh, Co Limerick, after he was served with a repossession notice by Bank of Scotland because of outstanding mortgage repayments.

More than 125 days later, neighbours and supporters of the Sherlock family have maintained a round-the-clock vigil to guard the 50-acre property.

Mr Sherlock and his five children – Dermot (22), Bernadette (19), Briget (18), JJ (15) and Mary Kate (13) – continue to live at their home.

"I have no choice but to stick it out. It is very simple, I have nowhere to go," he said.

"I'm very proud of my children – they are standing their ground here with me."

The farmer says he is more than willing to pay off his debt of €400,000-plus, including interest.

"The bank has not come back to us at all. We have a five-figure sum lodged with the family solicitor – we just want to pay our way," he said.

"We are not looking for anything for free. I have 10 years left on my mortgage. If I got another nine years (from the bank) we could pay our way."

A donated log cabin equipped with beds, mattresses and heating forms the sentry post for those keeping vigil.

"We cannot thank people enough – I can't get over the support we are receiving," he added.

A bank spokesperson said: "We do not comment on our banking relationships with our customers."