A bizarre story is developing involving Mattie McGrath and, separately, Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill of Fianna Fáil and
Fine Gael Senator Michael D'Arcy.
It seems that Friends First attempted, through salvage agents, to repossess a tractor which had been purchased by a farmer on Hire Purchase.
I became aware of this story when watching Oireachtas Report this evening. What caught my eye was the above mentioned senators using parliamentary privilege to accuse Friends First of all sorts of illegal activities, including using a salvage company which threatened to kill a 16 year old attempting to prevent the repossession. Both senators seemed to be attempting to out-sensationalise the other. Is this what the Seanad is for?
Mattie McGrath in sit-in at Friends First office - RTÉ NewsFine Gael Senator Michael D'Arcy said he had come from the family home of the people concerned in Co Wexford.
Speaking in the Seanad, he said it was a terrible thing to see people trading on the fringes of the law and perhaps trading on criminality, breaking into property and stealing property, without paperwork and threatening family members, and threatening a 16-year-old boy that if he if made a phone call, he would be killed.
He called for Senators on all sides to come together and he would like to see an all party motion coming from the Senate to deal with the practice.
Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill of Fianna Fáil noted Friends First had said in a statement that they were operating within in the law.
He said if that was the case the law need to be changed.
He said Friends First had employed people to cut a gate open at 5.30am to effectively steal a tractor from the yard.
It seems that these politicians think it is unreasonable that Friends First might seek to repossess (or as they put it, "steal") the tractor, on which €80,000 is owed, but €60 is being repaid to them each month.
Well, McGrath has decided to stage at sit-in at Friends First in Loughlinstown, and McGrath has asked FF not to attempt to repossess the tractor until Garda investigations are complete.
Independent TD Mattie McGrath and a number of supporters staged a sit in at the offices of Friends First Finance in Dublin this afternoon over an incident relating to the repossession of a tractor.
Mr McGrath said he and others are incensed by the treatment of a Wexford farm family from Bunclody who resisted attempts to repossess their tractor last week.
According to Mr McGrath, salvage agents came in the early hours of last Thursday morning and drove off with the tractor. They were confronted down the laneway by the farmer and his 16-year-old son along with some neighbours.
A struggle ensued and the people employed by the bank to repossess the tractor left without it. The farmer, who has not been named, has been reported to owe €80,000 on the 12-year-old tractor, which he refinanced in 2007.
Protest over tractor repossession - The Irish Times - Tue, Dec 04, 2012Friends First said they were acting legally and they only sought to repossess the tractor following the “persistent failure” of the farmer to honour the repayment terms of the hire purchase agreement.
They say they have acted within the law at all times.