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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 20, 2012 @ 8:48 am

    Would a younger investor garner as much sympathy as Killiney couple?

    Edel Morgan

    I’m not sure if  the  most uncomfortable thing about the eviction of the Killiney couple from their home this week was the fact that they were two older people being kicked out of their home in the twilight of their years  or the fact that  while we hear about family homes being repossessed  we don’t usually get to see it up close and personal on video. It was an unseemly debacle with the bailiffs and Gardai at the couple’s front door  while the owners  were frantic and upset. And  then there was the pitiful sight of  Brendan Kelly shouting “leave me alone” “leave me alone” and the pictures of the couple peering through the opening in their tent .

    I can’t help wondering though  if there would be as much sympathy for  a younger couple with a bulging property portfolio who were being  evicted from a  multimillion euro house in an exclusive enclave.  And as for someone perceived as a former fat cat banker/developer/investor, I’m guessing very few would be  calling Joe Duffy in outrage.

    A few months ago I wrote a blog about the plight of  people who could no longer service a mortgage on an investment property and how very little sympathy there is out there for them. I pointed out that an investment property that isn’t performing is a dreadful drain on resources and leads to some falling into difficulty with the mortgage on their family homes.  I received no less than 52  comments, the majority of which poured scorn on the notion that anyone should have sympathy for a person that gambled on the property market and lost.

    It’s been reported that in  the late 1990s Brendan Kelly and his wife Asta decided to sell their  business  in Germany and return to Ireland, investing their money in the Irish property market.They built a sizeable portfolio of properties in the greater Dublin area.The couple purchased their Killiney home shortly after it was built in 2004 for €3.2 million with the aid of a €2 million mortgage from Irish Nationwide. Isn’t it curious that a couple, that would then have been in their 40s and 50s, would have been given a mortgage to the tune of €2 million in the first place? I didn’t see the mortgage application the couple submitted to the bank and I don’t know the assets they had to convince the bank to give them such a humongous mortgage but it strikes me that  this a case of reckless lending at its most ludicrous.

    The property is on the market with an asking price of €2.2 million.

    • JOD says:

      Also believe mentioned empathy will be the thing in these situations increasingly in the coming times, as distinct from sympathy. Empathy, being based on common experience, is unconditioned by constraints such as social position, friend/foe status, rich/poor and so forth. It’s simply a sense of understandnig regret and a wish for better for the person undergoing the experience which one has also. Sympathy is..best left in the dictionary. Between ‘shit’ and ‘syphilis’. It’s another word for pity. Which nobody wants any of from anyone.

    • Shane Carroll says:

      I don’t blame people for their mistakes, but I do ask that they pay for them.
      -Jurassic Park the movie.

      Kick them out. Kick them all out. Then we will see the real value of this market. It’s how capitalism works. Right now the taxpayer is subsidising people staying in their “family homes”. I call shenanigans. A family home can just as easily be a one bed flat or a B&B to this couple. They bet, they lost; simple as. Now stand aside for the winners. The people who didnt bet wrongly on overpriced property.
      No sympathy.

    • DD says:

      Absolutely amazed at people defending this couple in their posts – these are investors who don’t want to part with a penny. They actually come across as quite vicious and manipulative, and you are right to consider how they would deal with their own tenants.

      By the way, I say this as a person who did speculate and who had tenants.

      The problem with Ireland is that everybody wants the next person to HELP them instead of taking responsibility. And by the way, there is nothing Christian about helping the next person to hold on to their riches. It is Christian to help the poor and defenceless, which these people most certainly are not.

    • bb says:

      I dunno……..it seems to me that the virtual blog mindset in this country is like playing some video game…. jump up on the bandwagon, find a scapegoat, crush the scapegoat……..find the next one……..basically anything to project the malaise in society away from oneself…

    • barb.ie says:

      @ 53 DD — I don’t think it’s beyond the Christian remit to feel sympathy for business people whose enterprise is failing in the current economic climate and who may now find themselves heading into the category of “the poor.” Your perception that the K couple “come across as quite vicious and manipulative” was not my perception and also your generalization with regard to “everybody in Ireland” basically looking for a handout is insulting to the vast majority of people who take a hit and start again from scratch.

      At any rate, I hope the K couple let us know how they got on….

    • First of all, it could hardly be described as “the family home” as they have not lived in it for very long. Second, why did they not buy their home FIRST

    • First of all, it is not their “family home” in that they have not lived there for very long. Second, why, when they returned from Germany with cash, did they not buy their home FIRST

    • First of all, it can hardly be described as their “family home”; they have only lived there for a couple of years; second, why did they not buy the house that they were going to live in FIRST when they came home from Germany instead of a load of properties they hoped to make a profit out of; third, why would a couple of that age consider they needed a 2m euro house to live in? It’s laughable. And if they have all these other properties that they say they cant sell, why dont they go and live in one of them? It’s not as if they havent a roof over their heads. When you consider all the people in Dublin who are homeless through no fault of their own, this couple deserve NO PITY WHATSOEVER. And what were they doing in the two years since the repossession was okayed? This couple, in my estimation, were just plain GREEDY. And again in my estimation, all this financial bother has stemmed from greed on the part of many, many people.

    • bro says:

      The post-Celtic Tiger situation with regard to housing/mortgage, in particular, has changed drastically within a couple of years but the rules that applied (re mortgage repayment, etc) during the Celtic Tiger period still remain fixed and this is unsustainable given the negative equity situation in the current economic climate and especially job loss, etc.
      The people, not the banks, should be top priority for this, or any, government and any financial restructuring that needs to be done should be done with people’s welfare in mind and not at their expense or in relation to their expendability.
      Basically if the economic climate turns nasty and endless rain is forecast…umbrellas will be in great demand…

    • Citizen b says:

      @56-58 – This is not a Communist State – although given the Labour party’s historic affiliations and the bullying attitude in general of our own KGB (Kenny, Gilmore, Burton), not to mention recent enmity with the Vatican in stark contrast with the recent sycophancy displayed towards the Communist Party of China, you’d begin to wonder what lies ahead. The problems that are now coming to light with regard to the failures of the economic system that had been operating in Democracies across the Western World – since, in our time, the advent/influence of Neoliberal economics (and the decline of religion) – will continue to be analysed into the middle of this century…or until there is nothing left for economists to talk about at that stage given the advancing Austerity for the Masses and the trend towards wealth and power becoming the preserve of “Elites” – Elites that would not tolerate any kind of economic/wealth analysis re their assorted Autocracies (essentially, another kind of Communism, which is always controlled by an elite group).

      Directing anger at a relatively elderly, enterprising couple that had come a financial cropper in the aftermath of the Celtic Tiger era in this country as though one is attacking “the enemy” is like a young lad using a flimsy catapult to ward off an advancing American M1 Abrams or a Russian T-90 Battle Tank – and such anger so-directed essentially only acts as decoy to shift focus from the ineffectiveness of this government in dealing with mortgage crises in general and the scourge of unemployment. Our anger/energies should be directed at making sure our elected representatives practise themselves what they preach for the people (so that an Elite does not form and metastasize) and on deciding whether it is prudent for the people of this State to move into the next phase of the EU project given the bleak choice that has been put in front of the people with regard to the terms of this latest treaty that we are being asked to vote on.
      Bleak House, Hard Times……….classic


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