Roscommon TD calls for calm after eight injured during attack on repossessed house

The scene yesterday at the house outside Strokestown in Roscommon. Photo: Brian Farrell

Update: Local Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy has said he is contacting the bank involved to see if anything can be done to ease tensions in the area near Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

Gardaí say three people were treated in hospital, a number of vehicles were set on fire, and a vet had to put down a dog who was injured in the disturbance at a house there at the weekend.

It comes after a gang of men approached security staff guarding the house and adjoining farm, which had recently been repossessed.

He said: "We do need to calm this situation down.

"People are quite distraught about the people concerned being turfed out of their home, particularly at this time of year.

“I suppose the whole episode has upset a lot of people and while there seems to have been a very bad handling of the eviction, I have to condemn the violence.

“Most people I have spoken to do not want that type of scene... However, it is absolutely essential that the bank would deal with this matter very urgently and come to some sort of settlement with the family."

A Garda investigation into “an incident of criminal damage and assault” at the house in Falsk is continuing.

Earlier: 'They were treated like animals' - Angry locals hit out after Roscommon eviction

Locals in Strokestown in County Roscommon say they are angry at how a local family has been treated in an eviction row.

It comes after a repossession at a property just outside the town ended violently at the weekend.

Eight people were injured, four vehicles were burned out and a dog had to be put down after a gang of men approached security staff who were guarding the property.

However, some local people in Strokestown this morning are angry at how the family has been treated.

One man said: "I felt sorry for the family because I knew them for years, I grew up beside them and I suppose like every family they did try their best. They should have been given time and there should be more people out at that gate."

A woman said: "It is shocking. You wouldn't throw an animal outside the door, they were treated like animals."

Earlier: 'I predicted this a year ago,' says TD after security guards injured in Roscommon house attack

Independent Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice claims up to 40 to 50 people are walking away from their homes because they are afraid of going through the court system.

He was responding after eight security staff who had been occupying a repossessed house, were injured in an overnight attack in Roscommon.

The eviction of two brothers and a sister from their home near Strokestown last Tuesday has sparked an angry response with many people objecting to the involvement of a private security firm, apparently from Northern Ireland.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, dozens of men arrived at the farmhouse and in the ensuing melee the eight security men were injured, and four vehicles were set alight. Three of the security staff were hospitalised. A vet was later called to the scene to put down a dog which was injured.

“I predicted this a year ago. The situation is getting worse,” said Mr Fitzmaurice. “This won’t solve anything.”

Independent Roscommon TD Michael Fitzmaurice

He told RTE’s Morning Ireland “we never hear from the people who give up” when they are evicted from their homes.

Mr Fitzmaurice rejected the suggestion that he was inciting violence in his comments about evictions.

“Violence solves nothing. We have to sit down and work with people, including the banks.”

He said it was not right for “two out of three people in that house who had no involvement with the banks in their life, who lived all their lives in that house, to be left homeless.”

There’s a solution to “all these things,” he said. “It’s not great if people are brought from Northern Ireland to peg people out of their home. People in their 60s.”

Mr Fitzmaurice said he did not want to see any more people getting into difficulty.

“A lot of people are losing their home or a piece of land. We are dealing with too many cases, we’re trying to deal with the banks and the vulture funds,” he said.

Earlier:

Gardaí in Co Roscommon are to interview up to eight security guards today who were attacked after an incident at a repossessed home near the town of Strokestown in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The incident, in which three people were taken to hospital for treatment, happened at approximately 5.30am on Sunday morning at a farm in Falsk near Strokestown.

A number of vehicles were also set on fire and a dog had to be put down due to its injuries.

One man is still in hospital after the incident, and it has emerged that when a group of masked men with baseball bats broke into the property, they had also blocked the road to and from it so that both the fire services and the gardaí found it difficult to get to the scene.

The scene yesterday at the house outside Strokestown in Roscommon. Photo: Brian Farrell

Gardaí are to speak to some of the injured security guards and examine the footage from body cameras worn by them.

KBC Bank Ireland confirmed it was aware of the incident but declined to comment saying it was a matter for the gardaí.

In a statement, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said he has requested his officials to examine the regulations and licensing of personnel enforcing court orders by the Private Security Authority.

Minister Flanagan also said that he has convened an interdepartmental group to examine the administrative, legislative, resources, security and any other matters required to provide for the regulation and licensing of personnel enforcing court orders by the Private Security Authority.

The group is to report to the Minister in January 2019.

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