Wednesday 13 December 2017

Jerome Reilly: People power emerges to thwart bank repossessions

It's starting small, but there are a growing number of groups fighting back against the disposal of distressed assets.

OUT, OUT, OUT: Charles Allen, left, cuts a padlock at Kennycourt Stud, Brannockstown, Co Kildare
OUT, OUT, OUT: Charles Allen, left, cuts a padlock at Kennycourt Stud, Brannockstown, Co Kildare
Protesters walk across fields to occupy the stud.
Jerry Beades
Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

IT was like a scene from Braveheart. More than 160 people crested the hill and stood for some minutes shoulder to shoulder against the evening sky lustily singing the Fields of Athenry.

The angry burble of an angle grinder drowned out the singing as the locks on first one gate and then another were severed and the group swept down the hill, waving the national flag and placards quoting Brehon law and proclaiming that the carrier was a "freeman of Ireland".

It was designed to be intimidating and it was. The protesters who arrived en masse in a carefully orchestrated operation last Saturday night were intent on "retaking possession" of Kennycourt Stud, a fine sweep of limestone rich land just outside Brannockstown, Co Kildare, which is the subject of bitter legal proceedings involving two banks and its former owner, Eugene McDermott, who was not present when the chaos erupted last Saturday evening.

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