Occupy Dame St moves to Killiney
HELP: Bank protestors team up with €2m mortgage couple
THEY'RE a most unlikely pairing - but it seems there's no cause too great for 'Occupy Dame Street'.
Protestors from the anti-bank crisis movement last night joined up with the Killiney couple who were evicted from their palatial south Dublin home this week.
Activists turned up at the exclusive former home of Brendan (71) and Asta Kelly (63), who had their house repossessed on Wednesday.
Bailiffs forced the couple from the lavish detached five- bedroom house in St Matthias Wood in a very public eviction after failing to pay off a €2m mortgage from Anglo Irish Bank.
The Killiney home was just one of at least 18 different properties they bought around the country since the early 1990s.
Mr Kelly, a retired accountant, has denied they had been the authors of their own misfortune, saying everybody in the country pushed themselves too far financially during the boom years.
The couple insisted they were unable to move into one of their other properties as these were all leased out.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan entered the controversy yesterday when he said the Government has no pledge to keep people in 21 different homes.
Mr Noonan said the Government must differentiate between those who cannot pay their mortgages and those who refuse to.
"The Government has pledged as far as possible to keeping people in their homes. We have no pledge to keep people in 21 different homes," he said.
"We must distinguish between people who can't pay and people who won't pay. For those who can't pay, we have a series of policies so the banks will deal with them on a case by case basis to relieve the burden."
Regarding the manner in which the Kellys were thrown out of their Killiney home, Mr Noonan said it was a matter for the people who did it.
"It wasn't a Government decision," he added.
Mr Noonan was speaking at Northern Trust in Limerick where an additional 30 jobs have been created. Northern Trust currently employs 270 people in the city.
Meanwhile, around 10 activists turned up at the Kellys' home to show their support.
Stephen Bennett, of the Occupy Dame Street movement, pointed out that the Kellys had their loan with Anglo Irish Bank.
"We would be against all evictions and were particularly horrified at the amount of violence and forces used to evict the Kellys," he told the Herald.
He pointed out the Kellys had had a successful business and "that hardly seemed to be a crime".
"My understanding is they sold their business and invested in property like many people. What happened to them is evidence that the system is broken," said Mr Bennett. There was an irony in the fact that billions were being paid out to bank bondholders who were never secured by a government guarantee while people were being pursued for their homes, he said.
Occupy Dame Street and other activists had gone to the scene of the Kellys' eviction "to show a little bit of solidarity", Mr Bennett added. It would be a very hard person who was not moved a little by the way they were evicted, he said.
Protesters from the movement, which was removed by garda before St Patrick's Day, took over a sheriff's office for two hours to voice their anger over the eviction.
The couple claimed it had been impossible to sell off any of their apartments because of the depressed property market.