Friday 23 February 2018

Protests at property sale prompt call for help

MAEVE SHEEHAN

ALLSOP Space has called in gardai for security advice after protesters stormed a fire sale of distressed properties in Dublin last week.

The company was forced to postpone the auction at the Shelbourne Hotel on Thursday after some hecklers shouted racial abuse and anti-English taunts at staff working for the UK-affiliated company.

A spokesman for the company confirmed that Allsop Space is conducting a review of what happened. "As part of that review, gardai are being consulted about what took place and their input is being sought."

Demonstrators took over the sales room last Thursday and some shouted taunts at staff, calling them "English scum" and "Black and Tan bastards".

More than 400 potential buyers had turned out to bid on more than 121 properties, but the sale was cancelled as the protest became more heated.

Demonstrators were drawn from several groups agitating against bank repossessions, including Defend Our Homes and Friends of Banking.

Organisers of the protests are, meanwhile, continuing to whip up their campaign against the auctioneering firm. The group claims an incorrect date of birth is listed in the company records for an Allsop Space director, Stephen McCarthy, and is questioning whether this impacts on its auctioneering licence.

Mattie McGrath, one of three independent TDs who attended the protest, called on the Property Services Regulatory Authority to review the matter.

In a statement yesterday, the company said: "Allsop Space director Stephen McCarthy's date of birth is June 1, 1968. As of lunchtime on Saturday, July 6, Mr McCarthy was surprised by Mattie McGrath TD's suggestion . . . that his date of birth, for another directorship he holds is allegedly listed as June 21, 1968. If that is the case that would be an error and in that event it would be corrected with the companies office at the earliest opportunity."

The statement said what is of primary importance is that "traditional public property auctions" are "not shut down by the illegal actions of a small minority".

Allsop Space said it is fully regulated, 50 per cent Irish-owned and employs 20 Irish people. It said it does not accept repossessed family homes for sale at its auctions.

Allsop Space is now inviting people to tender for the 121 properties that were to be sold at last Thursday's auction. Best and final bids must be submitted in writing by 5pm on Tuesday.

Irish Independent

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