Emotional scenes at Limerick court as banks apply to repossess homes

Emotional scenes at Limerick court as banks apply to repossess homes
Limerick Circuit Court. Pic: Google Maps

The were heartbreaking scenes inside Court 1 at Limerick Circuit Court as 219 applications were brought by banks and other lending institutions for possession of properties against families and individuals.

One lady who has €72,000 arrears and a total mortgage debt of €401,356 on her family home, appeared completely shattered by the court experience.

She broke down in front of County Registrar Pat Wallace, telling him she was a single mother with five children who had no hope of affording the mortgage.

The court heard numerous tragic stories of how those in arrears on their mortgages had suffered marital breakdowns and unemployment.

The woman wiped away tears and told the court: "I won't be able to afford (the mortgage). I've got five children and I'll have to move out."

"We don't speak. My ex-husband doesn't support me. I'll just have to rent."

Mr Wallace granted the lady time to vacate the property and adjourned proceedings to May.

Unemployed labourer Niall Mulligan, who allowed his name and picture to be published, described how having to go to court was a "soul destroying" experience.

His three-bedroom family home was one of two properties the court ordered for repossession.

"Apart from embarrassing and humiliating, it's quite soul-destroying," he said.

"To come out of school and to have worked so hard in the building trade, and trying to get a mortgage and going through all of the troubles to get a mortgage in the first place, then for it all to be taken away..."

The father-of-two, originally from Killbarrack, Dublin, said his relationship with his family broke down after he lost his job.

"I was doing well in the building rate up in Dublin at the time and we decided to move down (to Limerick). I bought a house that was half derelict and basically when I got down; we were no longer in the house when the (economic) boom went."

"I was in the building trade all my life and it left me without any wages. (My wife) couldn't handle me being at home and with no money in the house and all that kind of stuff, so she moved back into the city and we separated.

"I was left in the house half derelict and with no money to fix it.

"It was just a little bungalow out in the countryside, it was a three-bedroomed house.

"That was the whole idea -- to buy something that was kind of damaged, and with me being in the building trade I was to repair and do it up...a fixer upper. But I'm being fixed up now."

"It's just myself now in the house but I'm originally from Dublin and I don't fancy living on the streets in Limerick.

"I'm hoping that I might be able to get some kind of local housing, or whatever schemes are in place that will allow e to end up back in Dublin, around my own family."

Today, Permanent TSB pursued 57 individuals or families, AIB took 37 cases, Ulster Bank (27), Bank of Ireland (14), and KBC (12) with the rest of cases taken by other lending institutions.

With two possession orders made by the court, the majority of the 219 cases were adjourned to allow for potential last-minute deals between mortgage holders and their banks.

Others were given time to secure alternative accommodation.

A small group of six people protested outside the court calling for a "sustainable solution" to the situation.

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