County Limerick man in stand-off over repossession

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

A COUNTY Limerick man says he has been forced to sleep in his jeep without the use of vital medical equipment since his home was repossessed a week ago.

A COUNTY Limerick man says he has been forced to sleep in his jeep without the use of vital medical equipment since his home was repossessed a week ago.

Joe Bray claims he had to leave his home at Rathcannon, Kilmallock last Friday afternoon after a six and a half hour stand-off with officials who were trying to repossess the property.

The situation arose as a result of his difficulty with mortgage repayments.

“I’m on disability – I think it’s very unfair. The way they acted, it was the very same as if I wasn’t human. You wouldn’t do it to a dog,” he said.

According to the 59-year-old, he took out a mortgage with Start Mortgages in 2002 and fell behind in mortgage repayments some four years ago due to ill health. He admits that he did not make repayments over the past four years and says he owes in the region of €144,000 to the mortgage company.

“I was working, I had my own business, I kept horses – I was getting a wage out of it. I had been ill for a long time but it came bad four years ago,” Mr Bray explained.

Mr Bray suffers with asthma, arthritis, diabetes and respiratory problems. “I am on two machines – a nebuliser and a sleep apnea machine which helps control my breathing while I sleep,” he said.

According to Mr Bray a court order was granted to put him out of the house but following that order, arrangements were made - in recent weeks - with the HSE whereby they would assist with the repayments on a monthly basis.

“The HSE were going to pay around €400 or €500 a month. I must say the HSE were very helpful. I was going to give €200 a month,” he said.

“Between myself and my wife and my children we said we would raise the €200 a month,” he added.

He claims that a further offer was made in the last fortnight in which Start mortgages were offered €5,000  plus the €700 a month but they wouldn’t accept it. “They wanted me out – that was it,” he said.

A group of 12 individuals arrived at his front door last Friday morning.

“They arrived at around 9.30 in the morning - I stayed inside ‘til four o’clock,” he said.