Micheál Martin raised the plight of the O’Sullivan family from Kanturk, Co Cork, during leaders questions in the Dáil this morning and urged Enda Kenny to intervene.
Martin and Claire O’Sullivan, and their three young children, are facing eviction from their family home after Start Mortgage secured an order for repossession after they defaulted on their mortgage repayments for two years.
The family says the subprime lender has rejected two offers to make repayments of up to 400 a month.
“What’s happening here flies in the face of reassurances we were getting in this house and elsewhere that this would not be happening,” Mr Martin said.
Government statements about protecting the family home from repossession are worthless unless they are followed up with action, he said.
Mr Kenny said while he wasn’t aware of the details of the case, house repossession should be a very last resort.
“I feel for this man, his wife and their children,” he said.
There is a provision in legislation for a stay to be put on repossession until all options have been explored, he said and he suggested the family have their case examined in light of Martin O’Sullivan’s changed employment circumstances, and the family’s offer to pay some of the mortgage.
But Mr Martin accused Mr Kenny of “passing the buck” to the discretion of the judicial system.
“That is not a satisfactory response in this case,” he said.
Anti eviction campaigners are maintaining a presence outside the O’Sullivan home in Kanturk this morning.