Strangers gather to defend home of former bank official facing eviction
A FAMILY facing eviction from their home of almost 20 years are keeping an anxious watch for the sheriff after supporters staged a protest outside their house.
Ian Fitzgibbon (52), from Kerdiff Park, Monread Road, in Naas, Co Kildare, told of his "shock" and delight after neighbours, friends and strangers came out to support him after he had received a phone call from the sheriff's office to state that they were being evicted.
"I got a telephone call to say he was going ahead with a possession order and he asked me to move my wife and children out of the house," the father of two explained.
However, the family said there was no appearance of the sheriff at their home as expected at lunchtime yesterday and they were now anxiously awaiting further contact from the office at Naas Circuit Court about the eviction order.
The sheriff's office does not comment on eviction orders issued to grant "clear possession" of lands or premises following court proceedings.
The people gathered at their home included Mattie McGrath TD, developer Jerry Beade, other people facing repossession and groups including 'Friends of Banking Ireland' and 'Landleague'.
"We don't know half of these people. All we can say is thanks a million," Mr Fitzgibbon said.
He explained that the home, which was bought in the mid-1990s and which he shares with his wife and two children, is not in negative equity.
Mr Fitzgibbon, who worked with ACC Bank from 2000 to 2005 and held a position as executive manager of operations, told how the couple had in 2003 remortgaged the home for €300,000 with ACC Bank.
"All we've asked is to meet an officer of the bank face to face with a representative to come up with an agreement," he said.
"All we've wanted for five years is to talk to the bank. I was made redundant and fell behind (in 2008)."
However, Mr Fitzgibbon got another job and is now in a full-time job with a good salary.
He said: "We've offered to make lump sums, we've offered to make small sums."
An independent valuation of the house put it at between €420,000 and €425,000.
"We only owe €300,000, it is serviceable debt. The only reason I'm in this position is the bank have not sat around the table to talk to me ever, anybody I've seen in the last five years from the bank is either a barrister or a solicitor.
"I've written to the bank umpteen times, asking them to engage with me and my wife and they haven't," he said.
"They have no respect for people, people's marriages, everyone in my position is working damn hard trying to keep houses, look after their futures everything, build for their kids, they do not have a clue about the pressures they are putting on marriages."
A spokeswoman for the bank told the Irish Independent: "ACC Bank, for reasons of confidentiality, cannot comment on specifics of this case, as the bank does not comment on individual customers."
Mr Beade, from Friends of Banking Ireland, said they had been seeking legal advice in relation to section 133 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act of 2009.
He stressed that they believed that under the act the power of the sheriff to carry out such an order has been "abolished" except in relation to lands used for the operation of a business.
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