A former bicycle shop owner looked on today as his shop and three apartments were sold at a distressed property auction in Dublin.
Paul O'Hare was one of around 30 people who protested outside the Allsops auction in the Shelbourne Hotel, which attracts an average of 1,500 people each time they are held.
His shop was located on the Phibsboro Road in Dublin and was sold for €120,000 today. The shop had been open for seven years.
Mr O’Hare has been in receipt of social welfare for approximately a year. “I’m disgusted. Absolutely disgusted. There was a total of two bids on it. I was in panic there. I was really hoping it wouldn’t get sold,” he said.
“Nobody told me this was on. I only found out a few days ago and I left voicemails to [the bank and financial controllers involved] and they never got back to me. I was completely left in the dark.”
Mr O’Hare, who has three children, said he is not sure what he is going to do now.
The protest was organised by Melissa and Tom O’Reilly, whose former business property was withdrawn before the auction. They had been in the steel business for 21 years.
"We're heartbroken. I'm quite a private person and I poured my heart and soul onto Facebook on Sunday [to get people to join the protest]," Ms O'Reilly said.
“We thought nieces and nephews would be running the show in 15 years.”
Mr O'Reilly, who invested nearly all of his money into developing his business, said the protest was not just about him or his business. "This is a protest for the plain people of Ireland. We want to start a movement for ordinary people."