Eviction videos gathering up to 10,000 views per hour

Kells eviction gathers over 1 million views, Kildare confrontation 110,000 hits in one day

Campaign groups are increasingly posting videos of evictions, and attempted evictions, on social media to show the “reality” of modern evictions.

Two of the groups Right2Homes and the New Land League have said banks have up to now held off on repossessions and evictions as house prices were so low. But both organisations warned of a "tsunami" of evictions as prices rise and some 40,000 applications for repossession work their way through the courts.

The videos are being promoted by campaign groups and private citizens determined to show the less savoury and infrequently seen aspects of a modern eviction, which is often accompanied by anguish on the part of those evicted and tussles between sheriffs’ agents and protesters.

A number of the videos have gone viral online in recent days.

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A video showing Kildare sheriff Eithne Coughlan being prevented from accessing the home of the Ian and Geraldine Fitzgibbon at Kerdiff Park, Naas, on foot of an order for possession unwhich had been granted to ACC Bank, received more than 110,000 views in less than a day.

Similarly a video of last week's eviction of blind man John Lloyd and his family from their home in Kells, Co Meath, garnered more than one million views in the first week of its circulation on Facebook.

In the video of Ms Coughlan’s arrival at the Fitzgibbon home in Naas on Tuesday, Ms Coughlan is told she is being prevented from going onto the property by a group of people who describe themselves as “citizens”.

Right2Homes which is taking a Constitutional challenge against the legal provisions which provide for eviction later said its members were present, as did a spokesman for the New Land League, Jerry Beades.

During the confrontation the group can be heard telling Ms Coughlan: “You are not allowed onto the private property”.

Ms Coughlan appears to explain she is seeking Ian Fitzgibbon, but is told "you know where he is".

As reported in separately Mr Fitzgibbon was in the High Court successfully seeking a stay of several weeks on the eviction.

Ms Coughlan can be heard asking for Ian Fitzgibbon and telling those blocking her way that “I’m just here, I’ve a function and I’ve a duty...” while being told variously that Mr Fitzgibbon is “not there”, is “in the High Court” and “you know where he is”.

She said :”If you tell me he is in the High Court that’s fine. Do you know what time he will be back at”.

Ms Coughlan is then told she is “not the sheriff” and that in fact there are only sheriffs in Dublin and Cork, at which point she leaves.

Right2Homes group said 71 repossession cases were on the court list in Monaghan for Wednesday, with 49 listed for Thursday in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim. Another 18 were listed for Carlow Circuit Court on Thursday with Friday seeing five listed for court in Tralee and 182 cases listed for Limerick.

Brian Reilly, co-founder of Right2Homes, said a “tsunami” of cases were working their way through the courts and nearly each one of them represented a family who would be made homeless.

Paul Coyle one of the Fitzgibbon Family's supporters said he was in Naas to challenge the Kildare county sheriff on the basis that there was no longer any legal provision for her position.

“It was abolished outside Dublin in 1926,” he said.

On Tuesday the High Court heard Mr Fitzgibbon, a former employee of ACC Bank, had fallen behind on his mortgage repayments after he was made redundant by the bank in 2008.

Mr Fitzgibbon, his wife and their two sons had sought the adjournment on the basis that Mr Fitzgibbon had secured a new job in the UK and would soon be in a position to cover the €335,000 owed to ACC.

The judge said he was taking into account that Mr Fitzgibbon was giving an undertaking that if proposals he would submit to the bank were not accepted, he and his family would surrender the house at Kerdiff Park, Monread Road, Naas, Co Kildare voluntarily.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist