High Court Master urges house buyback by State

Property sold to vulture funds could be used for social housing, says Edmund Honohan

The State should use compulsory purchase orders to buy back residential property sold recently to "vulture" funds, the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan, has said.

He said legislation could be introduced so the properties could be bought back at the price paid and used as social housing.

Speaking on Claire Byrne Live on RTÉ television, he said the Constitution allowed interference in property rights where social interests required action by the State.

He said that as a lawyer he was frustrated by the commonly held view that property rights were untouchable and that “you can’t go there”.


He said it astonished him that governments came and went and the people were given this “drip feed” in relation to property rights.

Mr Honohan, a barrister, presides over the Masters Court that is concerned primarily with court procedural issues and case management.

He said the only way to get immediate control of additional social housing was to buy back now the housing sold to so-called vulture funds.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent