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.
“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
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