Archive for October, 2010

No surrender to bank, says Easkey landowner

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Western People

AN EASKEY father and son are battling the banks in a bid to save their farm.

John Devaney, aged 64, and his son Jonathan, aged 33, from Templeview, Easkey, have moved to prevent Bank of Ireland from taking 35 acres of land they bought in Killeenduff 11 years ago.

On Monday there was a stand-off between the Devaneys and their supporters, as gardaí and bailiffs were brought in to seize the land. Signs erected by the Devaneys – warning “land grabbers” to stay away – were torn down as tensions heightened. Baliffs were prevented from entering the lands after the Devaneys blocked an access gate with a digger and boulders.

In 1999, the Devaneys, who are dairy farmers, received a Bank of Ireland loan to buy 35 acres of land. The family are understood to owe the bank in the region of €260,000.

They accept they cannot pay their debts to the bank except by way of asset disposal. But they say that the bank refused a viable alternative which would enable them to reestablish their dairy farm, and claim that the bank now refuses to even speak with them.

The father and son received a letter on September 28 stating that a buyer for the land had been found and a sale agreed. But the Devaneys and their legal representatives argue that the tender received was far less than the debt owed. The family say they offered Bank of Ireland a plot of land of 38.5 acres which would enable them to keep farming but the bank refused.

“It’s time to rebel and stand up for yourself. All we’re asking for is a bit of fair play,” said Jonathan Devaney.

“It’s another case of one rule for the big boys and another rule for the small fellas,” his father John added. Richard Rea, of Rea Property and Debt Resolution, who is acting for the Devaneys, said the bank has refused to meet with him and said its actions “will leave Jonathan’s future as a farmer on the scrapheap”.

A spokeswoman for Bank of Ireland told the Western People it does not comment on individual cases.

Tense stand-off between Sligo farmer and bank

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Irish Independant

Caitriona Murphy

A tense stand off has developed between a Co Sligo farmer, Gardaí and bailiffs after the Bank of Ireland sold 35ac of a 96ac farm to an unknown buyer for an undisclosed sum.

John Devaney (64) and his son Jonathan (33), from Templeview, Easkey, Co Sligo, have refused to vacate the land, for which a possession order has been granted, because they claim its loss will break up their milking platform and render it impossible to re-establish a dairy enterprise.

The Devaneys have accepted that the sale of their assets is necessary to resolve their debt with the bank. However, they claim they offered to sell an alternative 38.5ac block and milk quota to settle their debt.

They say the impact of Bank of Ireland’s action is that they would have two unconnected holdings of 18ac and 38.5ac.

The pair have accused the bank of being heavy-handed, failing to engage with the Devaneys’ agent, agricultural consultant Richard Rea, and failing in its duty of care.

Mr Rea requested a meeting with the solicitors for the Bank of Ireland but this never took place because pre-conditions were sought.

He claimed that he also offered the sale of another 38.5ac and quota, together with the goodwill of the Devaney family, instead of the 35ac that the possession order applied to — but this was refused.

The Devaneys mounted a 24-hour watch on the land over the weekend after the bank wrote to Mr Rea, warning that if the cattle were still on the land by yesterday it would be necessary to remove the cattle to a pound in Cavan using wranglers. They were warned that they would be liable for all expenses charged by the pound, amounting to around €35 per animal a day.

As we went to press yesterday, the Gardaí and bailiffs had withdrawn from seeking to secure possession.

When contacted by the Farming Independent, a Bank of Ireland spokesperson said it was the bank’s policy not to discuss individual customer cases.

“We work closely with customers who encounter financial difficulties. Our most experienced bankers work to help and support these customers on an ongoing basis,” said the spokesperson.