'New Land League' aims to turn back tide of family evictions
HUNDREDS of people have met to form a protest organisation aimed at preventing the evictions of residents from their homes.
About 350 members of a group called the 'New Land League' arrived at Tommy Toughers Bar in Nass, Co Kildare, for its inaugural meeting.
One of their missions is to show up en masse when a family or other homeowner is being threatened with eviction through a bank's repossession of their home or other property.
The group has already intervened in the evictions of families from their homes in Meath and Kildare, as well as in Dublin and Galway, where the New Land League's presence has been enough to stop the eviction from taking place.
Organiser Jerry Beades (55), from Drumcondra, north Dublin, said the New Land League would intervene and mount peaceful pickets at any family home that was being repossessed by the banks.
"How many tens of thousands of families are behind in their mortgage repayments with the banks?" he asked.
"Are they going to evict them all? It's impossible. We are trying to impress upon them that is just impossible. They have to come up with meaningful and realistic solutions," he said.
He said the turnout yesterday was phenomenal. "We expected a few hundred people but there were 350," he said.
People from as far afield as Donegal, Roscommon, Galway, Cork and Tipperary, and from all walks of life, from schoolteachers and gardai to retired Army officers, attended the meeting, he said.
What they share is a sense of anger over the financial chaos that they, their neighbours and family now find themselves in due to the actions and inactions of Government and financial institutions since the collapse of the economy, he said.
"A lot of people are in all sorts of destitution and we aim to be a voice of the people," he said.
The gathering was not a political meeting but a rallying cry for action by ordinary people, he said.
"People are just sick to the teeth of the existing politicians who don't know what's going on," he said. "Our aim is to wake people up."
Mr Beades, who is a businessman, said he was inspired by the original Irish National Land Leaque that was established in the late 19th Century to abolish landlordism and enable poor tenant farmers to own the land that they worked on. It was founded in Taoiseach Enda Kenny's hometown of Castlebar, Co Mayo, in 1879 with Charles Stewart Parnell elected president.
The Land League united various tenants' rights organisations and land agitators under one umbrella, leading to the 'Land War' that was waged from 1879 to 1882 as members resisted evictions and pushed for rent reductions.
Now, more than a century later, Mr Beades, said he believed "people power" would again turn the tide against banks evicting people from their homes.