A MAN who admits he has “substantial arrears” on a €220,000 mortgage last night remained in his home after the sheriff for Louth was prevented from entering the apartment and evicting him.
Eugene Dooley (35) helped to found a group called the Anti-Eviction Taskforce in Dundalk about six weeks ago.
As he waited for the sheriff to arrive yesterday, he was joined by other members of the group, including Finbar Markey, who was formerly a member of People Before Profit.
Supporters of Mr Dooley yesterday filmed the sheriff, Mairéad Ahern, at the apartment.
At the bottom of steps just inside the front door that leads down to the hall, she was met by a group of men who walked towards her and then blocked her from getting closer to Mr Dooley’s apartment. The sheriff then left the scene but said she would return.
Mr Dooley, a quantity surveyor, said he took out the mortgage on the basement apartment on Chapel Street, Dundalk, with Permanent TSB in 2008.
“It is the common story of getting into difficulties and arrears. But I am only six years into my 30-year mortgage – who is to say my situation won’t change? I want to keep paying but based on what I can afford,” he said after the sheriff had left yesterday.
Mr Dooley said he has an appointment to discuss his mortgage with Permanent TSB later this month and he would suggest that he keep up his repayments but at a lower amount than at the start of the mortgage term.
“This is my home. I am in negative equity. I don’t think it would be worth €80,000 now,” he said.
Mr Markey said he had “got disenchanted with the political party system, so now we have created a movement around the country and we will shortly launch an independent campaign against the household charge”.
Later, members of the group delivered a copy of a High Court judgment by Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne to the courthouse in Dundalk, which they wanted the sheriff to have.
The group claimed the judgment meant that the attempt to evict Mr Dooley “and most other mortgage-holders in Ireland” was illegal.
They said that the judgment found there was a loophole that could be used if a demand to pay the mortgage in full had not been made before the end of 2009.
However, Mr Dooley also said he had not been represented in court during the proceedings against him and he had been unable to go to court when the order was being made to evict him.
He said that when he signed the contract for his home, he “signed an agreement but I was unaware of what I was signing – you don’t get to inject your own terms and conditions . . . I had a solicitor at the time but he was not with me when I signed it and it was not witnessed or co-signed so I want to see the original contract.”
Mr Dooley said that someone would constantly be at his apartment in anticipation of the return of the sheriff, but he added that the group supported “peaceful protests” only.
Ms Justice Dunne had found there had been a failure to save aspects of old legislation when the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 was introduced.
As a result, the only registered properties that lenders can repossess for failure to pay mortgages were those for which they had demanded full repayment before December 1st, 2009.