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Oral history project on the tenants’ movement in Ireland – Call for interviews and information July 8, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This should be of interest to a wide range of people and any assistance would be very helpful to those organising it.

I’m involved in an oral history project on the history of tenants’ movement in Ireland which I’m doing as part of the Community Action Tenants Union Ireland (CATU). We’re particularly focusing on the national rent strike of the early 1970s which was coordinated by the National Association of Tenants Organisations (NATO).

We’re looking to interview people who were involved in the rent strike.

If anyone here has information or suggestions for people to contact please contact the research group by email on catunato@gmail.com or by phone on 0877197874. You can find some more info about the project here as well: catuireland.org/rentstrike50.

Thanks – Fiadh


1. banjoagbeanjoe - July 8, 2022

The late Donnchadh MacRaghnaill of OSF and WP was a head honcho of NATO, the National Association of Tenants Organisations. I think NATO ran or co- ordinated the strike. MacRaghnaill was Drogheda-based, a councillor at one stage, I think.

There was a bit on CLR a while back about his eventual falling out with WP. Some office that he ended up transferring to a trade union for a fiver iirc. Again iirc his son commented and is/was involved with the Labour Party in Drogheda.

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Fiadh - July 8, 2022

Hi, thanks for that. Donnchadha is actually still around though getting on in years. We haven’t been able to get to talk to him but hope to be able to at some point. You’re right in that he was on the national executive of NATO during the rent strikes. The podcast episode is on Alan Kinsella’s website and its about him leaving the WP and running for election as a NATO candidate, but that was much later in the 90s if I remember right.

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WorldbyStorm - July 8, 2022

Wasn’t Malachy Steenson also involved in NATO? Or is that my imagination?


alanmyler - August 10, 2022

WBS, I think that might have been ACRA rather than NATO?


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WorldbyStorm - August 10, 2022

Yes, you’re right!

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alanmyler - August 10, 2022

I see Malachy Steenson was addressing the Irish Freedom Party Ard Fheis a couple of months ago. Hard to believe he was ever in the Workers’ Party listening to this stuff.


banjoagbeanjoe - July 8, 2022

Oops. Apologies to Donnchadh. Go maire tú an céad is tuilleadh a bhuachaill.

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2. Fiadh - July 8, 2022

Hm other people might know better but I haven’t come across any mention of him in archival materials.


3. tomasoflatharta - July 8, 2022

Rent and Rates Strike Against Internment from 1971 in the six Counties – a huge mass movement of civil disobedience. Memory politics should not be silent about the partition of Ireland.

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4. tomasoflatharta - July 8, 2022

“For some women, this was the first time that they had to act as head of households and claim benefits on behalf of their families (married women living with their husbands were not allowed to claim by law). Women formed street committees, sold political papers, spoke on public platforms, sat down in front of Saracen armoured cars and blocked streets. They went on demonstrations and gained both confidence and a sense of agency. It was a process which politicised them. Women took the lead in the Rent and Rates Strike introduced in opposition to internment without trial and it is estimated that 30,000 households were on strike at the height of the campaign. It was women who bore the brunt of the impact of the Payment for Debt Act 1971 which was enacted to counter the strike. This legislation allowed for deductions to be taken from wages and state benefits for non-payment of household bills.” https://www.acenturyofwomen.com/1970s/

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5. banjoagbeanjoe - July 9, 2022

There’s a thing called WFTA (pronounced wefta), the West Finglas Tenants Association. Still on the go in some form I’d say. If it is still on the go some people there might have memories of the rent strike.


Fiadh - August 10, 2022

Sorry for the slow reply. I missed this comment initially. WFTA were very active during the rent strike and are still on the go, but I haven’t managed to find anyone to talk to there. You wouldn’t happen to have any names or suggestions by any chance?

Liked by 1 person

banjoagbeanjoe - August 10, 2022

Bernie Hughes is an activist in Finglas who might give you a steer. Quite active on social media so you should be able to find her.

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Fiadh - August 17, 2022

That’s great thank you!

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