People of Ireland
begin Criminal Proceedings against Banks
An organisation which
says it represents 1,000 members of the public lodged a summons
with the High Court yesterday morning making a number of
allegations against Bank of Ireland, including gross negligence
and breach of contract.
While politician and banker salaries and pensions are protected
and golden handshakes are the order of the day for retiring
civil servants and financial regulators, extra taxes, cutbacks
in services and attending the funerals of family members and
friends who could no longer cope with the stress and strain is
now common place for many Irish people.
By Stephen Rogers
The group, which
calls itself People of Éire, said the plenary summons lodged on
behalf of a young Cork couple will be the first of a number
against financial institutions to be lodged over the coming
People of Éire said
the cases “will seek to expose a number of issues surrounding
the economic collapse of Ireland. The cases will deal with a
number of different areas, including the damage to the rights of
the borrower, the breach of regulatory requirements, the breach
of acts and statues relating to company law and financial
It also said it
expected “numerous criminal complaints relating to individuals
within the banking sector will be filed with An Garda Síochána”.
According to Claire
Cullinane, one of the founders of Debt Options Ireland, which is
a leading body behind People of Éire, said more than 500 people
accompanied Macroom couple Patrice and Roy Keating, who are in
their 20s, and their 14-month-old daughter Erin, to the High
Court yesterday to lodge their summons.
She said that the
two-page summons alleged, among other things, breach of trust,
gross negligence, non-compliance with the code of conduct of the
Central Bank, breach of consumer protection code, breach of
accounting regulations, failure to disclose a liquidity or
insolvency problem in a timely manner, and breach of contract.
Ms Cullinane said the
crowd stayed in the car park to show as much respect for the
court as they could.
“The whole High Court
stopped,” she said. “All the windows opened in the courts and
all the barristers and solicitors came out on the steps and
listened and supported us.”
Ms Cullinane said the
movement had started out of the need for people to support each
“For some, they are
in trouble themselves,” she said. “The trouble there is some
people cannot even read the paperwork anymore because they have
become so overwhelmed.
“For others, they are
dealing with illnesses such as cancer, heart attacks, and they
are afraid of the paperwork running away on them. Local people
in their area go in and help them go through whatever it is they
need and then some people want to go through the whole way to
taking a summons in the High Court and have a justifiable case
to do so.
“Others are just
happy to be able to breathe again. There is no judgment, it’s
whatever people need.”
Ms Cullinane said she
set up a training programme to help lay litigants and people in
“A part of my resumé
would be as a therapist and I was seeing more and more people
needed all kinds of therapies to deal with stress, but
unfortunately they did not have the money to go to therapists,”
“Part of the work I
have done over the years is train international governments on
stress management and creative thinking. It was time to put the
boots on, get walking, and go out to the people rather than
waiting for the people to come to me.
“Up to now,
everything has been free. Everything within Debt Options is free
because lay people were helping other lay people. Now it has
moved forward because we have professional solicitors and
barristers so everybody has come in as part of the company.
“The new body, People of
Éire, has a donate button and everybody all over this country,
and even emigrants abroad, can donate anything they want to the
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