The pace and extent of evictions from housing across 28 EU member states is to be measured in a €1 million research project led by a Galway law lecturer.
The two-year project headed by Dr Pádraic Kenna of NUI Galway’s school of law aims to examine evictions from mortgaged, rental and other properties – with a focus on the right to housing within the context of national and EU law.
The project, which is being funded by the European Commission, was awarded after a competitive tendering process, according to NUIG. It says the research will "identify effective early intervention and preventative measures" and create a profile of evicted households, risk factors and risk groups.
Patterns across all EU states will be analysed in the context of the economic downturn, welfare systems and legal practices and protections, Dr Kenna says. His team will involve researchers in Belgium, Denmark, Germany and Spain.
"In Ireland, we have a deeply historical sentiment on evictions," Dr Kenna notes. "Michael Davitt [Land League founder] wrote that an eviction was the expression of the power of profit and of property over the right of a family.
“Today,” he adds, “an eviction represents the collision of basic human rights with property rights and, while the EU is committed to the protection of human rights, the balance of these interests represents the contemporary fault line between market forces and people’s right to housing.”
National and local data will be collated and the project team will prepare reports and recommendations for the European Commission on best practice models for monitoring, alleviating and preventing evictions within EU and national legal contexts and policy.
The commission has initiated the project as part of its commitment to ensuring measures are in place to prevent homelessness across Europe.
Prof Donncha O’Connell, head of NUIG’s school of law, said that the project was “highly prestigious” and was a “concrete recognition” of Dr Kenna’s standing as a “major player in the field of housing law, rights and policy in Europe”.
Dr Kenna is an expert on housing law, rights and policy, both in Ireland and across the EU. He co-ordinates a sector of the European Network of Housing Researchers and is due to publish a new book, Contemporary Housing Issues in a Globalized World, this month.