THE LIMERICK man who barricaded himself and his family into their rural home after they were threatened with eviction has marked one month since the start of his protest with a renewed appeal for an end to the stand-off.
Seamus Sherlock’s stance against Bank of Scotland over an unpaid mortgage for his house and 50-acre property at Feohanagh has attracted support from across Ireland, and his home has been turned into a mini-fortress manned around-the-clock by dozens of like-minded supporters hoping to stave off the threat of forced eviction.
Mr Sherlock, who received national attention two years ago for his protest against the ESB’s threat to cut off his electricity supply, said that while his current situation remains at an impasse, he hopes that his example will inspire others around the country.
“Under no circumstances should family homes be repossessed, as not only does it add a burden to the taxpayer, as the councils have to re-home families, it also puts stress and strain on people adding to the already stretched medical budget... there are no exceptional circumstances that warrant evictions, where people are trying to make payments”.
Mr Sherlock began his impromptu protest on August 16 after he received a notice of eviction in the post from the County Registrar’s office. Since then, he and his five children have lived behind a barricade of 40 bales of silage against his main gate.
As news of his stance spread across the country, individuals from across Ireland – many of whom had never met Mr Sherlock before – travelled to his home to join in his protest. They set up checkpoints in donated portacabins, raised banners and flags at the entrance to the property, and have kept guard on the land 24 hours a day.
Sympathetic members of the local community have donated food parcels and care packages to the protesters, while power generators, lights and temporary accommodation cabins have also been donated free of charge.
In a statement this week a group which has been amongst Mr Sherlock’s most ardent supporters, the Anti-Eviction Task Force, said that the protesters’ resolve to see the matter through to the end is hardening.
“The barricade is of course no more than a show of peaceful resistance to the actions of the bank which seems to prefer eviction of a family to reaching a reasonable settlement.
“Seamus Sherlock and his family are once again appealing to Bank of Scotland to withdraw their demand for the eviction of the family and ask that they apply for the cancellation of the eviction order.
“Seamus and his family are asking that those people who have shown him support continue to do so”.