THE WEST Limerick farmer who barricaded himself and his five children into their home in order to stave off the threat of eviction has reached another landmark in his protest.
Seamus Sherlock has now spent more than 250 days living behind a barricade to the entrance of his home in Feohanagh, which he erected after he was served with a repossession notice over an unpaid €400,000 loan from Bank of Scotland.
Mr Sherlock, whose protest has attracted supporters from across the country and has been featured in media as far afield as the United States, said that he and his family remain committed to their stance.
“I’m still here and in it for the long haul. It’s a battle I can’t give up because I have nowhere to go to be straight and honest with you. It’s hard to think that it’s been eight months since we first put up the barricade. Times are tough all over the place, but I really appreciate the support we’ve been getting.”
To mark the 250th day of his protest last Sunday, Mr Sherlock and his supporters lit a green candle and placed it in a window, as part of an international campaign to highlight the issue of evictions.
“We normally have little events to mark however many days we’ve been protesting. But times are tough, and people mightn’t have the money for petrol to come down. The whole country is broke. We decided to just light a candle - it’s something 5,000 people were doing across the world, and putting pictures of it on the internet.
“We just want to shine a light on evictions and what is going on in Ireland. For a lot of people, this is the only way they can show they are supportive of us and the issue,” Mr Sherlock said.
In January, Mr Sherlock and his family were featured in a photographic essay on austerity in Europe in The New York Times.
Since he first erected his barricade last August, Mr Sherlock has received support from dozens of anti-eviction campaigners from across Ireland.
The campaign has had several highs and lows, from the visits of Mattie McGrath TD, former MEP Kathy Sinnott and musician and conspiracy theorist Jim Corr to articles in the national press labelling Mr Sherlock as a “serial defaulter” who has had four court judgements issued against him over unpaid debts.
Mr Sherlock has also received a phone call of support from folk music legend Christy Moore.
Neighbours and supporters have continued their constant guard at the entrance to Mr Sherlock’s 50 acre farm, and sleep in a donated log cabin equipped with beds, mattresses and heating.
The father-of-five said his solicitor is still dealing with Bank of Scotland and remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached on the €400,000 loan, which has risen to approximately €430,000 including interest.
He insisted that he is not looking to have his loan written off, but merely wants to find a way “to pay our way”.