Taking a stand against the bank
A CROWD of people gathered outside Colfer's pub, Carrig on Bannon yesterday (Monday) to protest against plans by ACC bank to take possession of it from its owner, John Murphy.
The pub is one of only three in the village and is known across the country for its music festival, the Phil Murphy traditional music weekend, which has taken place on the last weekend of July over the past 22 years in memory of John's father Phil, who died on July 23, 1989.
Phil Murphy was one of the best traditional musicians in the country. He played the harmonica, or mouth organ as he preferred to call it, from when he was about nine or ten years old and was also very involved in mumming, winning three All Irelands.
His son John took over the pub 18 years ago and invested heavily in it, re-roofing the premises and expanded it at a cost of hundreds of thousands of euros.
A large crowd gathered at Colfer's on Tuesday afternoon last when the receiver, a locksmith and some security staff arrived as children were being collected from the local national school.
Many people at the protest said it was very insensitive for them to arrive at that time as children were being collected from school.
Eirigi Cllr John Dwyer said the bank is 'tearing the heart and soul out of the community'.
'It's a viable business. Banks have a responsibility to maintain social cohesion. The Phil Murphy weekend attracts people from all over the country.'
Mr Murphy said: 'The back up and support I've received over the past few days has been unbelievable. I'm getting it from all over the country. It seems to have struck a chord with people, many of whom are in bother. There are so many other pubs in the same situation. One person said it seemed to him that the bank was using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, in its approach.'
He said it won't be the end of the world if the pub is closed, but it will be tragic for the community.
'Whatever materialises out of this I will have a life. I don't have a problem, I'll go on and play music.
'There are parasites out there who will snap this up for half nothing, but it will be a very tragic day for me and for the community.'
He said within a matter of minutes of anyone from the bank arriving at his pub over the coming weeks he could have a crowd there to stand with him again.