An extensive investigation by donegaldaily.com has found shocking evidence of how the banks are ‘turning the screw’ on ordinary people who have seen their lives turned upside down by the economic downturn.
This in turn has led to an increase in the number of people suffering acute depression.
We have spoken to people from all walks of life and yesterday published an interview with a Co Donegal farmer.
Today we publish the second of three interviews. This is the view of a Co Donegal builder:
“I’ve never seen it so bad; I was a sub-contractor and had two dozen working with me at one stage, but there’s no-one left now.
“The bailiffs have taken it all. At one time we couldn’t work fast enough because there was so much work. Those were the days. I remember Bertie Ahern saying it (the boom) would last another 20 years, but it barely lasted 20 months after he said that.
“I’ve lost everything now. I hate the way people blame the builders. All we did was meet demand. The real culprits were the banks because they were the ones who threw money at everyone. It was so easy.
“When I was growing up you got a new sofa when you had the money to buy one. Then the banks said you could have a house, all the furnishings and anything else.
“We worked hard. I’ve worked all over the UK in the 80s and 90s and it was great to be able to work here at home. The more work came along, the more I invested in it.
“I took out big loans for vans, tools and machinery. But I also signed personal guarantees with the bank. When the boom ended, I lost everything. The house is next go go, I know that.
“It all became too much for me and I did consider killing myself. Thankfully someone got to me before I went that far. I spoke to a priest and I’ve changed my outlook.
“I will lose everything I worked so hard for. I don’t think some people realise how much this recession is hurting ordinary people. People begrudge you when you do well; it seems to be how people think.
“You are not allowed to get ahead in this country, otherwise people despite success. I employed a lot of people, paid good wages, my taxes and helped out where I could.
“Now I’m the one looking for help. I’d like to keep the house, for the sake of my wife and children. But I’ve spoken to them now and explained that we will have to move sooner rather than later. There’s no point in fighting them (the banks). They’re holding all the cards.
“I would just tell anyone in the same boat that life is worth living. Leave the past behind and move on. That’s what I will have to do.”
To read the first article in the series click below: