“It Doesn’t Take Very Long For Your Balaclava To Slip”


From top: Pearse Doherty, of Sinn Féin; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon in the Dáil.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was responding to comments made by Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty about the recent eviction and subsequent events at a farmhouse near Strokestown, Co Roscommon.

He said the High Court doesn’t issue eviction orders lightly, and said 116,000 mortgages have been restructured while “only” 400 eviction orders were executed in the last year.

In response, Mr Doherty said:

“No family, regardless of their circumstances, and it’s not the Revenue that are evicting them, regardless of their circumstances, should have been treated in this way. This idea that banks enforcers, these thugs, and I call them thugs, can enter into somebody’s property, can cut down locks, break down doors, can take somebody out by their ears, can kick somebody on the ground and push them out of their own home and property, while the guards watch on, is not acceptable.

“And we have raised this with you countless times and it is not just bank enforcers that are unregulated, we have rent receivers that is unregulated. Why are they doing this? And why is the public so outraged? And I commend the public for standing up in solidarity with the family and people who are facing eviction.

“And standing against the type of thuggish behaviour that we’ve seen last Tuesday. Why are they doing this? Because your government has completely abandoned these communities. You have rolled out the red carpet for the vulture funds, you’re allowing thousands of sales of restructured performing mortgages to take place of the vulture funds outside of the code of conduct of the Central Bank.

“And you have allowed, time and time again, the banks to ride rough shod over ordinary people. So Taoiseach, will you…ensure that this is the last time that unauthorised, unregulated bank henchmen will be entering property and behaving in the type of despicable way that we’ve seen in Roscommon last Tuesday?

Mr Varadkar told Mr Doherty that he was “very concerned” that Mr Doherty “had nothing to say about what happened afterwards” – referring to events at the property on early Sunday morning.

He continued:

“Twenty or thirty people arriving in a cattle truck, armed with baseball bats, who then injured three or four other people. Set cars alight and caused an animal to be shot dead. I find it very concerning that you have nothing to say about that. You’ve made two contributions now and you’ve not condemned, you’ve not condemned, you’ve not condemned, you’ve not condemned…”

At this point Mr Doherty started to respond to Mr Varadkar and the Leas Ceann Comhairle Pat “The Cope” Gallagher called for order.

The call for order went on for more than 30 seconds.

After order was restored, Mr Varadkar said:

“Deputy, I condemn violence and thuggish behaviour by anyone, under any circumstances, so let there be no doubt about this. But in two contributions, in fact, in three contributions now, you have dismissed the fact that tax evasion is a serious offence.

“You have criticised the gardaí, you have criticised the High Court for making this order, having heard the cases…and you have said nothing about the thugs who climbed on the back of a cattle truck, 20 of them, broke into property, injured three people, killed a dog…”

Mr Gallagher began to call for order again.

Then the Taoiseach said:

“Deputy, deputy, when it comes to Sinn Féin and the rule of law, and public order, and condemning violence, it doesn’t take very long for your balaclava to slip.”

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

Previously: Cause And Effect

The Family Has Returned Home

88 thoughts on ““It Doesn’t Take Very Long For Your Balaclava To Slip”

  1. Neilo

    Lacks subtlety, for sure, but I’ve been waiting for the SF/FG love-in to come to an end for quite a while now…I’m almost in awe of Doherty’s chutzpah.

  2. newsjustin

    Deputy Doherty says:

    “This idea that banks enforcers, these thugs, and I call them thugs, can enter into somebody’s property, can cut down locks, break down doors, can take somebody out by their ears, can kick somebody on the ground and push them out of their own home and property, while the guards watch on, is not acceptable.”

    But it’s not their property. It’s the bank’s property. That’s the whole point.

      1. Kieran

        The only hypocrites are those who celebrate people like Collins and Barry but condem the pira for their actions. West Brits like fine gael are truly sellouts.

    1. Freddie

      No it’s not, the point is that the UDA is sending members down South and having them randomly kick vulnerable old people out of their homes.

      1. rotide

        “No it’s not, the point is that the UDA is sending members down South and having them randomly kick vulnerable old people out of their homes.”

        This is the type of boo boo spouted by people who didn’t even manage a junior cert all over facebook.

        Save it for the pub with your dullard mates.

      2. Scundered

        Lol, the UDA now? One minute it’s the UVF then the UDR, when if anyone actually checked for evidence we might realise so far there’s no support, only that one guy was ex soldier, not the illegal sort.

        But jaysus lads would ye have a bit of cop on, no loyalist would be working in border counties starting up crap like that. Stop being so gullible. The guy is a thug sure but look for the facts before spreading more outrageous rumours or jumping on the lynch mob bandwagon.

    2. CalmVoiceofReason

      If they murdered the evictees on the spot, and buried the bodies in unmarked graves on the beaches of Co. Louth, would that alley Mr Doherty’s fears and concerns?

  3. Brother Barnabas

    in the face of it all, a glib one-liner is the best varadkar can do

    he’s an embarrassment – easily as bad as kenny as this stage

  4. Joe Small

    It’s really surprising how few evictions/repossessions there have been considering how many people ended up in mortgage arrears. We’re paying for it in higher mortgage interest rates of course. We all hate the banks, but we still need a functioning bank system in this country.

    1. Qwerty123

      Who says we pay for it with higher interest rates? We have higher interest rates due to lack of competition and barrier to entry into the irish market. Where did this lie come from? Most arrears are resolved or in the process of resolving. 50% is through loan sales the rest through internal BAU activitiy. Non performing exposures down, new lending up, for example in the largest state owned bank AIB – https://aib.ie/content/dam/aib/investorrelations/docs/resultscentre/2018-half-yearly-financial-results/aib-group-plc-2018-half-yearly-financial-results-presentation.pdf

      EBS, PTSB and AIB are state owned. They can’t do anything without government approval. We need more banks in, not blaming people in arrears for higher interest rates.

      1. Joe Small

        I’d suggest that one of the reasons for lack of competition in the Irish market is the difficulty in repossessing properties even when a customer has stopped making any payments for several years.

        1. Qwerty123

          Normal NPE exposure is around 5% of loan book. So a new entrant wont come in and compete at the highest interest rates in Europe as they will have trouble evicting a fraction of that 5%? Given they will proably just sell on the loan in either case or restrucure with the customer which is happening in the majority of cases. They will give up all that sweet interest income on the 95%?

          Dont believe everything you read. There are barriers to allow AIB and the rest normalise.

          1. Bruce_Wee


            “The banks have long maintained that the higher rates reflected the elevated risk of lending into the Irish market, but in reality the premium was there to compensate for loss-making tracker portfolios”

            The Banks are claiming the reason for high mortgages rate is due to non-preforming loans. It’s not a statement, it’s a fact. This is their defense for higher interest rates. Whether you believe it or not is irrelevant.
            Our wonderful government decide to do nothign about it so if there is no drive to change this then we will continue to see extortionate rates available to people looking to borrow.

          2. Qwerty123

            Erm, that quote isnt from a bank, and contradicts itself in the second half where they blame loss making trackers (which is definitiy a factor in higher interest rates)

  5. rotide

    “116,000 mortgages have been restructured while “only” 400 eviction orders were executed in the last year.”

    Why the quotes around the word only? less than .4% of bad mortgages resulting in eviction is a pretty great result. That’s some pretty axe grinding editorialising there

    1. anne

      400 families only. Ara that’s a fantastic “result”. Why aren’t vultures restructuring?
      People are shouting from the rooftops they’re willing to pay them. They want everything.. not the debt.

      In for a clean swoop of the lot.

      Great for picking at the carcass of Irish society according to the Baldy Coot from Limerick’s crescent comprehensive school.

      1. rotide

        “Why aren’t vultures restructuring?
        People are shouting from the rooftops they’re willing to pay them”

        116,000 mortgages WERE restructured. Are you completely blind?

        99.6% of people are willing and do pay.
        .4% don’t pay and have no interest and/or capacity to even come close to paying. That’s where eviction comes in. It might offend you, but it’s a fact of life. Try actually listening to those warnings on bank ads once in a while.

        1. anne

          Warnings like we know you’re on a tracker, but fupp yous we’re a gonna do what we like, coz they do sweet fupp all to us in this country? Those warnings?

          Rotsy, you realise some people taken off their tracker rate morthages lost their homes, right? Payments doubling in some cases when they were fraudulently taken off their ttacker rate.

          This family are also saying they want to pay. That’s not what the vulture want though.

          Vultures don’t restructure..They call in the outstanding debt. Like pay the lot up now or we’re getting your house. It’s extortion. You can sh*te on about the banks terms & conditions all you like, when they’ve been nothing but gangsters who brought this country to it’s knees. Not all those in arrears have been offered restructuring by your standard banks here. Lots of mortgages are being sold off to vultures & lots of them are performing… i.e. people are paying. You can spin it however you like, but it’s not true ..the vast majority are paying their debt. Theses vultures are just calling in the full debt & going for everything.

          Just use a bit of cop on. A house in a family for a few generations…of course they’re trying to hold onto it. The same happened Glenda Gilson’s family. They almost came up with the full amount outstanding in cash…wasn’t good enough, the vulture wanted the house. They’re calling in the asset for much lower amounts too. Owe 10k in arrears, on a house worth 200k.they want the house if they don’t get their 10k paid pronto.

          1. Junkface

            Irish banks have broken so many rules over the last 20 years that its hard to keep up. This is what happens when institutions become corrupt, the people lose all respect for them. Banks have repeatedly lied and stolen from their own customers in Ireland, and they only apologised after someone else caught them! They really do not give a damn about people, families, communities.

            So quoting laws and financial warnings on bank ads does not command the same respect as it used to, because Banks repeatedly break the laws of Ireland.

          2. rotide

            – Not an irish bank.
            – Didn’t get bailed out
            – No evidence of that bank breaking any laws

            Anything else to add? Or are we just going to go back to tarring everything with the same brush

          3. anne

            Laws are created to suit. These vulture funds aren’t regulated here.. they could be banned if the Irish people weren’t been sold to the highest bidder.

            And btw, KBC were and still are up to their t*ts in fraud with their tracker customers. So yes, they have broken the law.

            “Read the terms & conditions”.. you’re some pipsqueak ja know that.

          4. anne

            no evidence of that bank breaking any laws
            From our resident little contrarian pipsqueak telling us to Read the Terms & Conditions.


            Nearly 2,500 tracker mortgage customers of KBC Ireland remain on the wrong rate since the €1bn scandal was uncovered, its chief executive has said.
            Wim Verbraeken was told by one TD at the Oireachtas finance committee that his bank took “main prize” for unacceptable delays in redressing and compensating customers. Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said: “Your bank is the worst.”

            The main price says their CEO. They taught it was a competition.

          5. anne

            ‘PTSB said 21 properties were lost, including seven family homes. KBC Ireland said six family homes and 27 buy-to-let properties were lost. Mr Verbraeken said he expects the six family homes lost so far to rise, while Permanent TSB admitted seven family homes have been lost from the fallout of the tracker scandal.’


            ” lost” like misplaced or something. These homes were wrongly taken off people. Shower of fupping gangsters.

            Read the terms & conditions my hoop.

  6. Murtles

    “So Taoiseach, will you…ensure that this is the last time that unauthorised, unregulated bank henchmen will be entering property and behaving in the type of despicable way…..”
    Of course Leo won’t do anything of the sort and criticism, constructive or otherwise, goes in one ear out the other like everything that is said to him be it by cancer patients, homeless charities, people who’s children are in agony on waiting lists for over a year etc etc. Leo’s getting €185,000 per year, he doesn’t have to do a tap just ride the gravy train and come with little “hilarious” quips to attack anyone trying to get him off his ar5e and do something to help the country like he’s suppose to do as leader.

  7. Broadbag

    Noise and bluster and wind and wittering, what’s the point of any of it? The amount of money these gobpoos are on… *grabs ceremonial mace* (or equivalent)

  8. GiggidyGoo

    When all fails and no answers are forthcoming, the standard fallback if FG is the ‘look over there’ tactic.
    In this case however, Varadkar has specifically said the word ‘your’ when addressing Pearse Doherty. Not ‘the’ or ‘their’. He has directly accused him of being a balaclava wearer and promoting violence.
    Let’s wait for the apology and see how clever Vacron is then.

    1. MaryLou's ArmaLite

      Most Irish people assume that SF/IRA types have at some point donned a balaclava to hand down their type of justice.

        1. MaryLou's ArmaLite

          ye scrotes don’t scream and wail when a bank evicts people from their home, yet ye have no problem with it being done in the name of the cause. Hypocrite.

          1. Giggidygoo

            Which cause would that be? Would you like another attempt at trying to construct something intelligent and understandable?

          2. Martco

            “the cause”??

            I’ve read a lot of poo on here that you have posted in the past but this is the best yet.

            what are you talking about now?

          3. Rob_G

            “You have 24 hours to leave the country, or you’re getting a bullet in the back of the head”

            – I think maybe those are the evictions that Mary Lou is referring to

    2. b

      LV started that balaclava comment with the line “When it comes to SF….”. It wasn’t directed at Doherty alone

      Not mentioning or condemning the attack on the farm this week was a glaring omission by Pearse Doherty, and not accidental either

          1. GiggidyGoo

            Nice try. That would be correct if he’d said ‘your friends, colleagues’ etc.
            but he didn’t say that. He said ‘your balaclava’
            Try again

          2. Cian

            Except where leo said
            “when it comes to Sinn Féin and the rule of law, and public order, and condemning violence, it doesn’t take very long for your balaclava to slip”

          3. Rob_G

            GG: “Look up the definition of ‘your'”

            Cian: “sure, here you go”

            GG: “yeah but – ur wrong, tho…”

  9. ollie

    I’ve no love for SF but that comments is really crass for the leader of a Government.
    Sums up Mr Smart Ass Teeshok though.

  10. Neilo

    What is to be answered? What merits an apology? A property is repossessed and a fracas occurs leading to – among other things – injuries, a dead dog and the affected anger of a public representative whose puppeteers did far, far worse.

  11. Joe

    Pearse has vacuous windbag Leo on the ropes again. Leo must really feel he has Fianna Fail in his pocket otherwise he wouldn’t risk reciting his spinmeister’s scripted response. Leo better pull up his socks up to his ears as he is really going to get bit in the bum by showing his support for gangster bankers and voracious vulture fundsters.

    1. scundered

      He needs to support neither, just make sure the rule of law is followed properly, people still need to pay their debts no matter, and evictions must be done properly with the correct paperwork/procedure. He shouldn’t be taking any sides.

  12. Dr.Fart MD

    violence where violence fits. i say fair play to those 20 lads who went up and knocked lumps out of that gang. easy for varadkar to condemn violence and look down his nose at what happened and for SF’s support, but what the fupp has he offered as an alternative? or anyone in FG for that matter? the circumstance for what happened brewed over the course of FG’s tenure and as a result of their will to leave everything up to private markets and let banks run amok. its bound to result in something like this happening, but don’t condemn it without offering other options. i hope this is the start of something, i’d gladly join a vigilante group who dispensed justice on to those heaping grief upon us, who get away with it aided by the Gov. im in.

    1. rotide

      ” i’d gladly join a vigilante group who dispensed justice on to those heaping grief upon us”

      ….and there it is.

      That’s exactly how it starts.

      Violence is the last refuge of the incompetant. There is no place in society for scum who hold this point of view. You are as bad, if not worse, as the ‘loyalist thugs’ you are so outraged about.

    2. Dr.Fart MD

      at least i can spell ‘incompetent’ .. I used to think the same about violence. That it’s not the answer for anything. There’s always another way. But after years and years of being beaten down by a self serving bureaucracy, and just trying to keep my head above, only enjoying brief moments of a normal life before being dragged back down .. i say fupp it, nothing works, may as well take out the frustration on those responsible, who not only don’t care, but also aren’t ever held accountable.

          1. Martco

            HA! @Dr.Fart MD

            (see what I mean?)

            you’re better than that

        1. Dr.Fart MD

          haha return to mob rule? oh yea, sick of that arent we? that terrible mob rule we’ve had growing up. here. in 1789 France. you must be aristocracy if you’re afraid of mob rule returning lol. Look, some people are getting away with plopping on the rest of the people all the time. and conventional routes haven’t worked out so far. I’m willing to give it a go. not as far as guillitines but a revolution wouldnt go astray. on the time line of the world we’re due one. i’d like to be on the right side of history.

  13. Ron

    The fact that Vacron thought this was an appropriate response to the situation and allowed himself to read that show a how inept he is. He thinks he is bees knees when it comes to leadership. He is the most incompetent leader this country has ever seen. It’s like he has a full six pack in his head but it’s missing the plastic stringy bit that holds them all together. An utter clown in a circus full of clowns. Each one more incompetent then the next.

  14. gringo

    Vlad has a very short memory. The water charge protest inflicted a huge defeat on the establishment, to the point where they refunded the charges to those who had paid. This was an unprecedented failure that was largely downplayed by the media. His failure to control the criminality of the banks will eventually result in real trouble.

  15. Truth in the News

    What is the background of Fine Gael….Cumain na Gael and the later merged
    Blue Shirt outfit…..they didn’t bother with balaclava’s, they were barefaced
    in pursuit of power by any means possible, you have only to examine the
    misuse of political power William T Cosgrave and his son Liam.
    The next couple of years of remembering the 1920’s will expose what
    they stood for…..no wonder history was abolished as as a school subject

  16. Owen C

    According to the Irish Times and Indo this morning:

    – Proceedings against the McGann family over mortgage arrears started in 2009. NINE YEARS AGO!
    – Possession order granted to KBC in August of this year
    – Delays granted to McGanns to allow them to seek alternative arrangements
    – Multiple messages between sheriff and McGann family in the interim, including two days before the incident on 11th December, communicating that a repossession would take place and urging the McGanns to vacate.

    So can we stop with this “oh the poor family, they’ve been turfed out after missing a few payments and didn’t know any of this would happen, they’ve been offering to pay KBC €1,000 a month” nonsense. This is a long term hardened arrears case where they have denied any reality of their situation for almost a decade.

      1. Owen C

        Yes, and nothing can excuse a legal system which allows delinquent borrowers to remain in their homes for almost a decade for no particular reason.

          1. Owen C

            Nope, the violence we saw from security firm was excessive and unwarranted. But by allowing a system of non-compliance with civil law (arrears, eviction and repossession) you create a situation where both sides end up taking the law into their own hands (action and reaction), and then ideological splits from people watching elsewhere in society. The system of dealing with arrears needs to be cleared up to allow for a much (much^3) quicker process of foreclosure rather than dragging it out over a decade and allowing entrenched personal perspectives (no evictions ever) to set in which are in contradiction with the actual law (the bank was granted possession, the home ceased to be owned by the borrowers when the sheriff issued the repossession order that morning, the borrowers were then trespassers). Evict the borrowers and charge the security company with assault.

    1. Truth in the News

      Couple miles not too far away from Strokestown there is an example
      one law for the well connected and the not so well favoured, …what
      about a case in Ballaghadreen now before the Courts, will the Sheriff
      be instructed by the Courts to evict and recover the shortfall, no way
      Who was responsible for contracting in Mr Gordon and his bailiffs
      KBC or the Courts Service, while they might not wear balaclavas they
      will hardly drop the mask……if the property is repossessd who will buy
      or touch it and if Varadkar or his Government were any good there
      would mechanisms in place to resolve these issues….we have only
      to listen Ednund Honohan Master of the High Court

  17. Eoin

    Sinn Fein has released the following

    “Press release from the Mc Gann family

    The McGann family from Strokestown, County Roscommon, who were subjected last week to a forced eviction by a Northern Ireland based security firm acting on behalf of KBC Bank, have issued a statement in response to the deeply distressing events they have been forced to endure over recent days.

    “Our family has been overwhelmed by the levels of support we have received and we wish to pay special thanks to our neighbours and friends who have greatly helped us during a very traumatic time. We would also like to pay tribute to the people from across the four corners of Ireland whose sympathy and solidarity has been of great assistance in our time of need and to the people who travelled long distances to stand in solidarity with us.

    “The forced eviction from our home has left our family shocked by unforeseen events that were thrust upon us. Our ordeal has been further compounded by the inaccurate and ill-informed media coverage of our eviction, and the subsequent events that have occurred. We wish to make clear we condemn all forms of violence and want to see the rule of law upheld but we have also been deeply upset by the use of inflammatory language that has characterised much of the media reportage.

    “We believe our plight has been exploited by some wishing to further their own narrow agendas and we were particularly disappointed at comments made today by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil. His remarks, we believe, are a deliberate attempt to deflect attention from some of the very serious issues relating to our eviction. He has yet to adequately respond to the actions of unidentified security personnel who forcibly, and with considerable violence, removed our family from our home in front of a massive Garda presence that oversaw the eviction nor has he responded to concerns about the legality of the eviction notice.”

    The McGanns have asked the Taoiseach to refrain from making comments that further compound their distress and in conclusion to their statement they say their case is with two firms of solicitors who are now acting on their behalf and that matters relating to their eviction will be heard before the courts in due course. Meanwhile they appeal for their privacy to be respected as they resume their preparations for Christmas. As this is now a legal matter the Mc Gann family or anybody connected to them will be making no further comments it may be prejudicial to future legal proceedings.

    NOTE TO EDITORS: The Mc Gann family have released their statement through their friend and former neighbour Matt Carthy.”

  18. Neilo

    C’mon, Matt…throw a slice of that sweet, sweet Connolly House cash to the McGanns. Paul’s the only one of them I see working these days.

  19. Neilo

    C’mon, Matt…throw a piece of that sweet, sweet Connolly House action to the McGanns. Paul’s the only one of them I see working these days.

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