Ground Rent is Robbery
Organisation: Sinn Féin [Official]
Series:Repsol Pamphlets, Number 13
View: View Document
Discuss:Comments on this document
Subjects: Ground Rent

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

27th July 2015

Many thanks to Peter Mooney for donating this document to the Archive – one of many from his collection that will be reproduced here in coming months.

This leaflet published in late 1973 or early 1974 outlines its objectives in the Preface:

The aim of this pamphlet is to show that ground rent is not only ‘faintly ridiculous’ but that it is immoral and that its abolition is long overdue.

A campaign against ground rent is a logical corollary to the fight for peasant proprietary or the demand for the public ownership of inland waters. It is the smashing of a link with the conquest; ground rent is unknown outside Ireland and England, its home of origin.

And the leaflet in the space of 56 pages forensically examines the history of ground rents in 9 chapters, offering both an overview, an an analysis and a course of action to abolish them for good. It also positions this within the contemporary and notes the Association of Combined Residents Associations campaign to abolish ground rent which commenced in June 1973.

The announcement of the campaign, made by ACRA’s PRO Andy Conlon, at a public meeting organised by the Sinn Féin party in Ennis created much speculation among ground rent tenants throughout Ireland.


The Irish democracy in the shape of ACRA, NATO and other groups joining in, are beginning to catch up on this relic of feudal times. May they succeed.

More from Sinn Féin [Official]

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  • By: RonanL Mon, 27 Jul 2015 14:54:55

    Fantastic find, thanks for sharing.

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  • By: Michael Mullan Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:24:28

    I remember this well. My parents had to buy out the freehold of the land on which they had their own house built. Years later, after Lord Lucan had acted in the finest traditions of his peculiar class, it again surfaced as a live issue. There was I as a youngster getting my head around ideas like capitalism and socialism, only to find that feudalism was still alive. Wonder if I still have that pamphlet somewhere.

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  • By: Ghandi Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:46:07

    Whilst the L&T act 1976 gives Lessees the right to buy out the ground rent, they still have not been abolished and rise their head from time to time with leases which are about to expire. Tehre is currently a case before the Supreme Court in relation to property in Cavan (the Shirley estate). Since the 76 act it was not possible to create a new ground rent howevre due to constitution property rights it was not possible to abolish those ones already created. ACRA is alive and well and for my sins I am still is General Secretary. Tony O’Toole is still the chairman of its ground rents sub committee and he goes back to the beginning of this campaign. I will post a copy of its most recent newsletetr via WBS.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:55:43

    In reply to Ghandi.

    Ghandi, that would be most appreciated. I’d like to put a more recent copy into the Archive.

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  • By: Liam Cullinane Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:01:00

    Big issue in the 60s. There was an especially big campaign in Midleton, Co.Cork during the 60s over it. Important to remember that while the origins of ground rents was feudal, most of the people who owned them were domestic Irish businessmen who bought them from the decaying Ascendancy. In the case of Midleton, the rents only became an issue when Lord Midleton sold the estate to a domestic property firm.

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  • By: CL Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:19:27

    In reply to Liam Cullinane.

    “The IRA also took a direct role in agitation against the sale of land in Midleton Co. Cork, in support for strikers at Dundalk Engineering Works and housing protest in the Griffith Barracks campaign in Dublin.[9] An O-tglac explained that the Midleton ‘campaign would not be in existence but for the initiative displayed by Cork Command in picketing the auction rooms’ and though the IRA were not actually in the leadership of the protests, they were setting the pace of its demands. Units were asked ‘how many more Mideltons are hiding their lights under bushels?’ It was stressed that in nay of these campaigns ‘occasions may arise when the full resources of the Army will be needed to protect the peoples’ gains from counter attack.’[10]”

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  • By: CL Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:50:47

    In reply to CL.

    Cork hurler, John Fenton, has self-published a booklet about the sale of Midleton.
    The sale of an entire Irish town by a member of the House of Lords would inevitably attract some republican attention, but the actual involvement of the republican movement was it seems peripheral.

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  • By: Ghandi Sun, 09 Aug 2015 13:00:12

    Sadly I have just heard thatteh Tony O’Toole a stalwart of the Ground Rent campaign has just passed away, details later.

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  • By: GRNDRNTS Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:55:58

    Tony O’ Toole passed away on the 6th August, 2015. He achieved a great deal (with many aiding and abetting him) on behalf of the people of Ireland to rid Ireland of this feudal imposition. However, there are still a very many people who face difficulties who are on short term leases that are expiring. (Posted by his son).

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