THREE independent TDs staged a sit-in at a branch of the bank linked to the controversial eviction of three siblings from their home in Co. Roscommon last week.
Deputies Mattie McGrath, Michael Collins and Carol Nolan protested at the Lower Baggot Street branch of KBC Bank in Dublin this afternoon.
Meanwhile gardaí investigating the removal of the bailiffs on Sunday by a gang wielding baseball bats have arrested two men.
'Agressive and relentless'
The property’s residents – two brothers and a sister aged in their 50s and 60s – say they were forcefully and violently evicted from their Strokestown home by the bailiffs last Tuesday.
Deputy McGrath said the TDs’ occupation of the bank would continue until KBC’s CEO Wim Verbraeken provided written assurances he will meet to discuss their concerns.
“We are taking this drastic action to highlight the appalling treatment that customers in distress are receiving at the hands of KBC Bank,” McGrath said in a statement.
“We must not forget that this is a bank that reported net profit of €33.6 million for Q3 in 2018 alone.
“Many of the customers we are dealing with really feel like they are being driven to the brink in terms of the aggressive and relentless debt collection strategies being employed.
“These are ordinary people who listen to the reassuring words spoken at Oireachtas Committees and elsewhere by the banks but who know that the reality on the ground is extremely different.
“We want absolute guarantees that this disconnect will be addressed and we will be remaining here in occupation until we have that in writing.”
The bailiffs who evicted the residents were themselves forced from the property on Sunday by a gang wielding baseball bats.
Three security staff were hospitalised and a guard dog was fatally wounded, while their vehicles were burnt out.
As part of their investigation into the incident, gardaí today arrested two men aged in their 50s and 60s.
They are currently being detained under Section 30 of the Offences against the State Act, 1939 at Castlerea Garda Station.
Four separate locations were searched during the operation, including houses and out-houses.
One firearm was recovered and a number of vehicles, including a lorry and teleporter, were seized.
It follows a number of searches carried out in Dublin and Meath on Monday, where members of the Special Detective Unit recovered a number of items, including documentation and phones, as part of the investigation.