Members of the Irish branch of the international Occupy movement have pledged their continued support for an elderly Irish couple who were evicted from their home this week.
Brendan and Asta Kelly had their eviction live streamed by Irish Occupy supporters as sheriffs agents escorted them from their upscale property in Killiney, County Dublin on Wednesday.
According to Breaking News, Kelly, 71, and his wife Asta were filmed as sheriffs escorted them from the plush property in Killiney, County Dublin on Wednesday.
But a wrinkle in the story is the revelation that the couple may own up to 21 properties in high end districts of Dublin. Their own gated-community residence, which was valued at $4.95 million at the height of the Irish property boom in 2008, prompted scorn after it was published on social media websites.
Responding to the revelation Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that the Irish Government made a commitment to keep people in their homes, but not in 21 different homes.
'We must distinguish between people who can't pay and people who won't pay,' the Minister said, according to Breaking News.
Occupy campaigner John Rogers countered that the elderly couple were removed from the property with brutal force, which his organization found unacceptable. 'It doesn’t matter how many properties they have in their portfolio,' Rogers said. 'They are in negative equity like much of the country and the bank should have given them a chance to make smaller payments or come to some kind of arrangement. But to drag an old man from his home kicking and screaming is not right. If anyone in this country doesn’t see that then they mustn’t have a heart.'
Earlier in the week members of the movement staged a sit-in at the Dublin Sheriff’s office to protest against the office's repossession of creditors homes. Rogers said there should be no Sheriff's office in a modern society, adding that the post was first created when Ireland was under English rule in medieval times.
'The Sheriff shouldn’t be in this country. We haven’t moved forward in 100 years,' he said.
Property records show that Kelly and his wife maintain a portfolio of 21 properties in some of the most affluent areas of south Dublin. But the couple have nonetheless described their removal from their home to a 19th-century eviction.
The Killiney property is now on the market with an asking price of $2.9 million dollars. The couple ran several retail stores in an affluent German holiday resort for many years before selling up and retiring to Ireland where Kelly says he now works as a professional landlord.
Minister Noonan sounded unmoved by their plight. 'For those who can't pay we have a series of policies, so that the banks will deal with debtors on a case-by-case basis to relieve the burden.'
Meanwhile the Kellys have spent their second night in a tent outside their former property to protest the manner in which the eviction was carried out.