Back in August 2017 a small but determined group of people landed in New York City on a mission to see if there was any possibility for raising ethical funding to potentially help tackle the nightmare scenario developing in Ireland specifically with the involvement of the Vulture Funds.

Turns out there is, but you need to demonstrate, amongst other things, a definitive “political will” in order to secure it.

That, believe it or not, has proved to be one of the most difficult things to find, obviously with some notable exceptions, in this politically captured little country of ours.

The small R2H ‘umbrella group’ was drawn from people who shared a sense of common cause and who all wanted to work together towards a practical solution aiming to “keep people in their homes” and, at the same time, create a platform for “ethically-funded alternatives” to help replace the Vulture Funds.

Make no mistake about it there is a pressing need for something like this today as the banks prepare to transfer a further c.€10.3 billion worth of distressed loans to the Vulture Funds, and with the blessing of our current Government, aided and abetted by Fianna Fáil.

We have been on a long journey with Right2Homes, beginning back in 2013, when we  undertook to support a Constitutional Challenge to the Land & Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013, commonly referred to these days as the ‘Eviction Bill’, which had been introduced by then Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter.

This Act purported to protect distressed borrowers but actually ended up assisting banks and vulture funds in their efforts to repossess family homes.

We quickly came to the conclusion that in order to adequately address the current levels of unfairness, inequality and representative imbalance in the Courts, that this could only be achieved through the introduction of new legislation.

In early 2017, during a meeting in Leinster House, we were given the opportunity, ironically by some people from Fianna Fáil, to set about organising an Umbrella Group of like-minded and solution-driven people, and organisations, who’s main objective would be the creation of a “People’s Bill” aiming to achieve two specific goals: (1) keep people in their homes; and (2) establish a platform for ethically-funded and not-for-profit entities to be able to engage meaningfully with the banks and ultimately replace the profit-driven and highly undesirable Vulture Funds.

This we believe we have accomplished through the creation of the ‘Affordible Housing and Fair Mortgage Bill 2018’.

The Bill has been drafted by the Master of the High Court, Edmund Honohan, and has been introduced into the Dáil as a Private Member’s Bill by Deputy John McGuinness, the FF Chairman of the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

It has since been moved to Second Stage and John McGuinness is today seeking cross-party support for the Bill.

Brian Reilly | Co-Founder at Right2Homes