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05th Oct 2021

Tens of thousands call on Irish government to challenge vulture funds

Dave Hanratty

“We have to change how we see housing. We have to turn it back into a home.”

Tens of thousands of Irish people have lent their support to a petition that calls upon Government to take urgent action on vulture funds as the housing crisis continues to make its presence felt.

A petition created by Dr Rory Hearne, Assistant Professor of Social Policy at NUI Maynooth, was formally handed into Dáil Éireann on Tuesday morning (5 October), having garnered almost 40,000 signatures from the public.

According to the latest studies, the total number of properties available to buy in Ireland on 1 September was slightly below 12,700. Currently, there are 50% less properties available to buy when contrasted with one year ago.

On Monday, the government outlined its commitment to the revised €165 billion National Development Plan, which includes “priority solutions” to strengthen a number of areas including housing.

Speaking in Dáil Éireann last week, Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the current housing situation in Ireland as “the number one social crisis of our time”.

The petition, handed into the Dáil for the attention of TDs, strongly calls on government to halt global investment funds buying up estates and apartment blocks, causing a grim knock-on effect for the average Irish citizen.

Rory Hearne

Image via Sam Boal /

“Last May, the Irish public were outraged by investor funds buying up an estate in Maynooth and the government implemented measures it said would stop this practice,” said Rory Hearne on Tuesday.

“However, the measures excluded the main area that institutional real estate investors are buying and building – apartments. We continue to see investor funds buying up thousands of homes in this country, locking out those seeking to buy a home and forcing renters into paying unaffordable rents.”

Hearne goes on to argue that the government is actively supporting such measures and outlines several steps that the government could take to address the problem in the imminent Budget, including:

  • Scrap investor tax breaks – scrap REIT tax
  • Impose investor tax of 50% on profits
  • Restrict sale of new developments to individual home buyers and not for profits
  • Build public & affordable homes on huge state lands
  • Right to housing in our Constitution
  • Remove landlord’s ability to evict tenants for sale and no fault evictions

“I think what we need… I would describe it as a cultural revolution on housing,” Hearne told JOE last week.

“We have to change how we see housing. We have to turn it back into a home.”

You can view the petition in detail here.

Featured Image via Leah Farrell /