Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds rally against evictions in Roscommon

Yesterday’s protest in Strokestown, scene of a recent forced eviction
Yesterday’s protest in Strokestown, scene of a recent forced eviction

By Cate McCurry

More than 700 people have taken part in a protest in Co Roscommon calling for forced evictions to end.

It comes weeks after a private security firm evicted an elderly family from their farm near Strokestown.

The incident sparked a major police operation after a number of people were taken to hospital with injuries and a dog with the security personnel was killed. Some of the victims are reported to be from Co Antrim.

Two men were arrested as part of the Garda investigation into alleged criminal damage and assault.

The men were later released and a file is being prepared for the Republic's Director of Public Prosecutions.

Two members of the family have since returned to the home.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Strokestown yesterday where public representatives addressed the crowd.

Padraig A'Tailliura O Conghaile, from protest group Glor na Tuaithe (Rural Voice), said the public had been left angered at the forced evictions.

"People are really angry at what is happening and this is definitely the start of evictions," he said.

"The people are very angry about what the Government is doing to them. We must stand firm and the only way we will win is through people power.

"We elected these people in and we can get them out. We paid off the bankers and yet they have thrown these people out of their homes.

"There are thousands of homes in Ireland at risk of being taken over. It's scandalous."

Speaking to the crowd, local councillor Ivan Connaughton said: "I am here to stand with the people of Strokestown and the people of Roscommon and Ireland. This is only the tip of the iceberg what happened here, it's a national issue.

"I am asking the representatives in Dail Eireann to stand with the people of Roscommon and Ireland.

"They need to implement legislation to ensure no person has to leave their home or farm in this country."

Dan Hoban, from Republican Sinn Fein, said he had not "lost faith" in the Irish people.

"I am proud of you all here today in support of the (evicted) family," he said, adding: "The power of the people is going to win in the end."

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