Masked vigilantes attack guards at Irish farmhouse after eviction World news Politicians and locals appeal for calm after violent backlash in County Roscommon Politicians and locals appeal for calm after violent backlash in County Roscommon Politicians and local residents have appealed for calm after masked vigilantes attacked security guards at an Irish farmhouse whose inhabitants had earlier been forcefully evicted at the behest of a bank. Under cover of darkness early on Sunday, dozens of men, some masked and carrying baseball bats, sealed off a rural road in County Roscommon with bales of hay and approached the farmhouse in Falsk, near Strokestown, a rural town 85 miles west of Dublin. They surrounded the building, attacked the occupants, injuring eight, and set three cars on fire. A dog injured in the melee was later put down. Three people were treated in hospital. The eviction and the violent backlash have kindled memories of the Land League movement, which in the late 19th century tried to stop the eviction of small landholders, stoking resistance to British rule. Gardai are reportedly investigating whether dissident republicans were involved in the attack. There is also widespread criticism of KBC Bank, which, after obtaining a court order last Tuesday, dispatched the security guards to evict Anthony, David and Geraldine McGann, siblings in their 50s and 60s, from the house they had lived in all their lives. Video of the eviction shows black-clad bailiffs scuffling with several people. When one is heard on the video being told he should be ashamed to be Irish, he replies that he is British. After the McGanns were ousted, the bailiffs occupied the property. The video went viral, prompting anger on social media and in the Dáil. Michael Fitzmaurice, an independent Dáil member for the Roscommon-Galway constituency, complained that the security staff “pegged three people out of a house, two of them elderly, and left them on the side of the road”. He alluded to the perception that the guards were from a Northern Ireland company: “Ordinary people right around the country were infuriated to see people coming from another place to put people out of their house, at a time when we are struggling with homelessness.” The taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, said nobody liked to see a family losing its home, especially before Christmas, but that it had been done on the basis of a court order. “Leaving aside the reasons for the eviction I think all of us have to condemn unreservedly the use of violence,” he said. “In this instance, individuals being injured, an animal was killed, property destroyed. It would seem that it was very highly organised, highly violent vigilante attack.” Land and home ownership has been an emotive issue throughout Irish history. In 1847, at the height of the potato famine, a gunman killed Major Denis Mahon, a Strokestown landowner who had evicted destitute tenant farmers. Locals lit celebratory bonfires. A sequel of sorts unfolded in the past decade as Ireland endured western Europe’s worst real estate crash. Banks became hate figures by repossessing thousands of homes where mortgage accounts were in arrears. KBC has declined to comment on the attack on the security team, saying it is a police matter. The Gardai have come under scrutiny for their role in the eviction. Video showed Gardai at the scene but not intervening. In a statement, the justice minister, Charlie Flanagan, said he was reviewing the regulations and licensing of personnel enforcing court orders. Clashes between bailiffs and activists have become more common as spiralling rents have fuelled a homelessness crisis. Groups with names like Take Back the City and the Land League – a reference to the original movement – are organising resistance. Four people were injured in September when security personnel wearing balaclavas removed occupiers from a house in central Dublin. The security team’s use of a British-registered van previously used by Greater Manchester police prompted talk of “British heavies” doing banks’ and landlords’ dirty work.