Protestor: Allsop auction 'irks a lot of people'

A firesale auction of repossessed homes and businesses had to be cancelled when protesters took over a salesroom.

Protestor: Allsop auction 'irks a lot of people'

A firesale auction of repossessed homes and businesses had to be cancelled when protesters took over a salesroom.

One man stood in front of an auctioneer before the event was due to start, pleading with potential buyers not to place a bid.

A spokeswoman for Allsop Space confirmed its auction was cancelled due to unforeseen organised protests taking place in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.

“Unfortunately, proceedings were cancelled in the interest of public safety of those attending the auction,” she added.

According to Irish Examiner reporter Seán McCárthaigh protesters were accompanied by a number of TDs and warned that the auction may get unpleasant if gardaí were to remove them.

TDs Mattie McGrath and Michael Healy Rae were with those protesting against the sale of more than 120 properties, which had combined reserves totalling €12.1m.

Applause and loud cheering broke out as auction personnel started to leave the building.

Tom O’Reilly said he also protested last month when a bank put his former factory in Navan on the auction list, but it was withdrawn because of publicity.

“This protest started out about Anglo and then we came down here and then we decided to go inside and try and stop the action

“We very successfully stopped the auction.

“People feel it’s very wrong to have English agents selling Irish properties on behalf of English-owned banks.

“It irks a lot of people this is going on.”

Sellers said there was mayhem inside the auction hall, where up to 400 people - including buyers and protesters - gathered ahead of the sale.

“It was shocking,” said one, claiming dozens of demonstrators shouted abuse at auctioneers.

“It got really nasty really quickly. It wasn’t safe to go on for the staff. They just shut the whole thing down.”

The company has been forced to close its Dublin office on Lower Pembroke Street, while gardai stopped them leaving the hotel from the front door for their own safety.

No arrests have been made.

Individuals against the sale joined protesters from a number of different groups including People for Economic Justice, Defend Our Homes and Direct Democracy Ireland.

Organisers believe the recent revelations in the leaked Anglo Irish Bank tapes, recorded in the weeks before the Government bailed out the toxic lender and other Irish banks, sparked the anger.

Allsop Space held Ireland’s first distressed multi-lot property auction in Dublin in April 2011, with organisers forced to delay the event as hundreds of people blocked the road outside trying to get in.

Another 1,000 were crammed in the auction hall, overflow room and bar, with some 300 punters watching it live on screens in Doheny and Nesbitts pub nearby

The sale, by UK auction house Allsop and its Dublin affiliate Space, signalled a benchmark for Irish house prices, which have dropped by about 50% from a 2007 peak.

Since then, 12 auctions – including today’s – have been staged, attracting scores of demonstrators outside against the sale of repossessed properties.

Allsop Space maintains that a large quantity of the land, homes and businesses on its book are from private sellers.

Highlights in today’s auction included the Excise Building in Dublin’s IFSC, a hotel in Donegal and several coastal holiday homes, some with a reserve of as little as €35,000.

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