This morning, Wednesday 14th March, a large force of Gardai sealed off a country lane leading to the home of Mr Lee Wellstead and then, according to neighbours, forced entry by kicking down the front door. The repossession of the property and the eviction of Mr Wellstead and his young daughter were carried out on behalf of Ulster Bank, which is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland, which was nationalised by the British government as part of the bail out of banks in Britain. In February the Defend Our Homes League mounted a protest at this property contesting the legality of the repossession order issued not by a judge but by the County Registrar. There is a legal question, to be contested in the High Court in April, as to whether a Sheriff, County Registrar or any court below the High Court can issue repossession orders for properties valued above €36,000. In the event the Deputy County Registrar did not serve the repossession order on Mr Wellstead on that occasion. In the mean time Ulster Bank had agreed to a meeting with ULA TDs Joan Collins and Clare Daly to discuss their policies in relation to mortgage arrears.
Speaking in the Dail today Joan Collins TD said “She was appalled and outraged by this eviction of Lee Wellstead and his daughter from their family home. Where have we come to as a nation when the Gardai act as eviction bailiffs for a British state owned bank? Have they forgotten our history as a people? “
Speaking in the same debate Clare Daly TD noted “in today’s papers that the banks are demanding, only two months after they were introduced, a change in the Central Banks code of conduct to allow them greater power to contact/harass home owners with arrears. All the cards are in the hands of the banks in this crisis, yet they see the limited protection for home owners in the code of conduct as an obstacle to them wringing every last cent they can out of distressed
The Defend Our Homes League has called a protest to take place this Friday at 10.30 am at the O’Connell Street branch of Ulster Bank.