Common Sense Prevails

William Tuohy, an unemployed father of seven has won a landmark case in the Irish courts. He claimed squatters rights on an empty house in a “ghost estate” in Co. Offaly. After checking the estate for an appropriate home, he found a house which was left unlocked, and moved in.

He spent several months painting and decorating the house and making it habitable for himself and his children. However the Gardai, at the behest of NAMA, served him with a trespassing order and Mr. Tuohy was taken to court. Based on Mr. Tuohy’s testimony, which included details about his being on the housing waiting list for five years, along with photo’s of the house after he’d decorated it, Her Honour, Judge Catherine Staines, dismissed the case, allowing Mr. Tuohy to continue living in the house he has procured.

This is great news. Finally there are people in Ireland who have taken control of empty properties across the country, and decided to put them to good use. It makes no sense to me whatsoever to have hundreds of homes nationwide laid to waste, uninhabited, slowing falling apart because there is nobody there to take care of them, when there are equally hundreds of families out there in dire need of a roof over their heads and who are waiting for the local authority to find them a place they can call home.

I know what the property developers are thinking….they’re thinking that if their €300k+ homes are now suddenly used to house the less fortunate, the less affluent, then the price of the property will diminish. This is of course utter rubbish. The fact that these homes have sat empty for the last two/three years, in an estate where there are also dozens of incomplete homes has already brought down the “resale” value of the houses. Doesn’t it make more sense to put these houses to good use, garner a rent from tenants and repay SOMETHING towards the exorbitant levels of debt they owe to the State for bailing them out? As a taxpayer and citizen, this would be my preferred choice, rather than seeing families go homeless and homes lay empty and unused.

Well done to Mr. Tuohy and Judge Staines….I’m glad to see common-sense has not become extinct yet. Mind you, it’s still on the endangered species list.

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