Group lodges High Court appeal against Kanturk family eviction

Plight of O’Sullivans raised in Dáil by Micheál Martin

Claire and Martin O’Sullivan at home in Kanturk. Photograph: Eamonn Keogh/ MacMonagle

A group campaigning against home repossessions has lodged an appeal in the High Court seeking a stay against the eviction of a family from their home in Co Cork after they fell into arrears in their mortgage repayments.

Anti-Eviction Ireland, which is part of the Independent Resistance Ireland group, has lodged an appeal in the High Court against the order obtained by Start Mortgages against Martin and Claire O'Sullivan. The order is seeking repossession of the couple's home at Dun an Oir in Kanturk.

Lynette O'Donoghue of Mallow Resists Austerity, another constituent group of Independent Resistance Ireland, told The Irish Times that appeal papers have been lodged with the High Court but the papers have yet to be processed.

“What Anti-Eviction Ireland has done on behalf of the O’Sullivans is lodge appeal papers with the High Court seeking a stay of at least six months against the execution of the warrant seeking their eviction but we’re still waiting for the papers to be processed,” she said.

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Ms O’Donoghue said that anti-eviction campaigners would continue to support the O’Sullivans and would maintain a 24-hour rota to ensure a constant presence at the four bedroomed semi-detached house in the estate.

News of the appeal on behalf of the O’Sulllivans came as the plight of the couple, who have three children under the age of eight, was raised in Dáil Éireann earlier today.

Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin called on the Taoiseach to intervene personally in the case as he reminded him that he had said in March that he did wish to see homes being taken from people.

"Taoiseach, I'm asking you if you would appoint somebody from your Department to ensure that the government and its agencies intervene in this case to provide a sustainable solution ... I would ask that you do that so that all options would be explored to prevent this couple and their three children being evicted from their home," said Mr Martin.

Mr Kenny said the Government had made it very clear that the repossession of houses should be as a very last resort and it was clear that in case of the O’Sullivans, they were not multiple property owners and that it was their family home that was at risk.

Mr Martin said that Mr Kenny’s words were “meaningless” unless they were followed up with “solid intervention by government agencies” to prevent the eviction because if it proceeded, they would ended up becoming dependent on the state for their housing needs.

“If the eviction takes place, they will invariably end up on the housing list and the county council will have to purchase a house in good time or at some stage or at least rent allowance will have to apply in the event of a couple renting,” Mr Martin said.

“It will actually cost the taxpayer more in the full follow through of this particular scenario and that’s not taking into account the enormous distress and anxiety caused to the family themselves,” he added.

Meanwhile Mr O’Sullivan said he wasn’t sure what was going to happen over the coming days but he was determined that his family would not leave their home after putting down a € 110,000 deposit on the property in 2007.

The couple took out an initial mortgage with Permanent TSB for € 150,000 but remortgaged the property with Start Mortgages in 2009 and took another € 30,000 to settle some business after his plumbing business got into difficulty.

They met the repayments of € 900 a month for 12-18months but then fell into arrears and despite offering to make repayments of € 400 a month, Start Mortgages initiated legal proceedings and obtained a High Court order for repossession, he said.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times