The Way Forward: Two steps to end the eviction crisis


By Dr Finbar Markey

Straight to the heart of the matter…..


Often it is said of “grass-roots” movements that they don’t have strategy and the focus necessary to succeed. At times when strategies are offered they are complex and far-reaching in the sense that they aim for “evolutionary” change within a very restrictive timescale. Neither critique can be made about the strategy of the National Land League of Ireland. It is simple, achievable and proven both historically and globally. It is what is meant when speakers at protests are often heard to implore the crowds to “go home and organise!”.


The National League’s strategy is two-pronged in appearance, although each prong in itself consists of numerous tasks to be enacted by local groups. The first prong addresses the immediate crisis upon us, the looming Tsunami of evictions. Not only are the white horses of the Tsunami in view, but the first spray of salt-water can be felt upon the faces of our volunteers as more and more people contact with possession “execution” notices.



Our tactic to stem the hemorrhaging is to freeze the apparatus of eviction. We do this and encourage others to do this by setting up day-centres in every part of Ireland. It doesn’t matter what name you go by once we all do this. The day-centres can be used to educate people on how to prolong the process of eviction for years (see more about this on our website). The sheer numbers of homes up for possession is a major bonus to our efforts in this regard. Meanwhile we must work hard on the second prong of our strategy, pre-election emergency legislative change.


There are elections coming within the next year or so and all right minded grass roots movements are considering how they can make the eviction crisis the central theme of the election. All hopes are pinned on the notion that the next government will keep their promises. Can we wait for this? for the drawn out talks and the disappointments? Or can we demand from the current government that they take pre-election actions, possibly with cross-party approval, such as ratifying some simple emergency amendments to the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Acts (LCLR Acts). We suggest those changes should be to the effect….


(i) Where the Acts disempower the Sheriff in terms of executing evictions on tenants, that this is changed to include homeowners for a period of three years from the ratification of the amendment.


(ii) That the act make compulsory through the LCLR Acts, CCMA and MARP, an offer of a sixty per cent write down for all mortgagors who borrowed between the years 2000 and 2011, and where a mortgagor cannot afford this, an affordable offer of write-down on the concerned mortgage is made by the mortgagee within three years of the ratification of the amendments. Failure to do so will forfeit the mortgagee’s right to enforce entirely…


Making our simple strategy work depends on the confidence that our members and supporters have to take the plan to the country and making it real. As high-falutin as changing the nation may sound and appear, in reality it is a very local business. It depends on people taking simple steps such as calling a few dependables together, booking a day centre room once per week for a few hours and advertising support and help for those in debt; educating ourselves with a simple course delivered by the National Land League. If everyone can achieve this for a start, within six months we will have achieved the first prong of the strategy. The second prong will come naturally….

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