A WELL known Limerick businessman forced to “break into” his own home in a ghost estate says he is in it for the long haul.
John Ryan, 68, who is originally from Clonmel but living in Caherconlish for many years, entered his property and his son’s house in Ard na Deirge estate in Killaloe on Monday, July 1.
He climbed in the window of the four-bed house he bought for €300,000 seven years ago.
There has been a long-running battle to live in his house.
A protest in March by 80 supporters backed house owners in the unfinished estate, Michelle Burke and her husband William Buck, along with Mr Ryan and his son, John Ryan Jnr.
They have not been allowed into their homes because there are no services to the estate. The builder ran into financial difficulties. AIB appointed KPMG as receivers.
Mr Ryan has been paying almost €1,400 on a mortgage and rent every month for the past four years.
He said that he and his son have spent a combined €600,000 between the two house they purchased and legal fees.
Last Monday week was the first time he spent a night in the dream house that the 68-year-old bought for he and his wife, Breda, to enjoy their retirement in the picturesque village.
The grandfather of seven decided to enter the house because he was at the “end of his tether” and he was “getting nowhere”.
“I left Limerick in my jeep with a trailer and all my gear and went straight to Killaloe.
“I went in to the garda barracks with my title documents and I told them I was going in to my own property.
“I showed them my title deeds. I didn’t want to break any law.
“I asked the agent for the keys of my property. He said he didn’t have them which is what I expected,” said Mr Ryan.
Killaloe gardai have confirmed they won’t seek Mr Ryan’s removal from the home as it is a civil matter.
“I didn’t break a window, I was shown how to do it. I went in a window without breaking it then I went in to my son’s house.
“The locks have been changed, reprogrammed with new keys,” said Mr Ryan.
He spoke to the Limerick Leader exactly a week on from when he first set up home and he says he is in it for the long-haul.
“I’m still here. We are covering it between me, my wife, my son and others. At the moment my wife has given me a time-out as I have charity meeting in Limerick city but then I will go back.
“My son will then come over at 8pm after work. It is like shiftwork,” said Mr Ryan, who ran a string of successful hair salons in Limerick city and is a well known golfer and member of Limerick Golf Club.
He began life in the house without services like electricity and water but that has changed in the last week.
“I was on Joe Duffy last Friday and he asked me what are you going to do for services. I said I am going to get a generator, get water and put in a gas cooker.
“Just when the programme was over at 3pm the next thing I heard was a shout from behind, ‘Hello, hello, hello’.
“A very good neighbour said, ‘What do you want?’ I asked for electricity and water and he said, ‘No problem’. I have everything now,” said Mr Ryan.
Two other neighbours also offered to help in any way they can. He says they have been overwhelmed by the support.
“The phone has been hopping from friends ringing me, asking me what can they do to help and wishing me the best,” said Mr Ryan.
He says he broke into his own home to force this issue which has been dragging on and on.
“If AIB and KPMG want to contest my right to remain there, they can take me to court I want it to go to court and I look forward to my day in court,” said Mr Ryan, who added that he won’t have his son’s life destroyed by this. He says John Jnr rents in Killaloe and it is very hard to see his own house lying idle every day.
AIB said it would not be commenting as it does not comment on individual cases.