Martin and Claire O’Sullivan, from Kanturk, Co Cork, spoke of their plight yesterday in the hope that others in similar circumstances would gain strength.
“It’s wrong. People have to stand their ground and fight this,” said Martin, 36.
Claire, 40, fought back tears, to say: “I’m scared, I don’t know how to cope with this at all. There’s stress, I can’t eat, can’t sleep, I’m frightened to go out. It’s a scary situation.”
Anti-Eviction Ireland campaigners who stood outside their home in the Dún an Óir housing estate to prevent any attempt to repossess the home have also vowed to maintain their presence there for as long as it takes.
Martin’s father, Donal, who was among the group standing outside, lashed out at the Government.
“Our government has bailed out the banks when they should be bailing out the people, not the banks. That’s going to be my battle cry from now on,” he said.
Martin and Claire, who have three children under the age of eight, moved into the four-bedroom semi-detached house seven years ago and secured a €180,000 mortgage with Start Mortgages.
Martin, who was self-employed in the construction industry, said they were repaying up to €1,000 a month until he lost his business. Because he was self-employed, he was not entitled to social welfare payments.
The couple accept that they have not made mortgage repayments for about two years but insist they have made two offers to start to pay something — the latest offer was to pay up to €400 a month.
Martin, who has in recent months got a job in telesales, said Start Mortgages has refused to accept those offers.
Start Mortgages, which has secured a High Court order for repossession of the home, could not be contacted for comment. Its legal advisers in the repossession case, Lavelle and Coleman solicitors, did not respond to queries.
The Cork County Sheriff, Sinead McNamara, whose officers were expected to execute the order for repossession yesterday, said it would be inappropriate to comment on individual cases. However, Ms McNamara is on record as saying that repossession orders are granted by a judge only after consideration of all the facts of the case.