THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Tenants hold protest meeting against increase rents in the Ulster Hall

From the News Letter, April 30, 1920

Friday, 30th April 2021, 6:00 am
Ulster Hall, Belfast, Co Antrim. NLI Ref: L_CAB_05070. Picture: National Library of Ireland

The News Letter reported that the plight of Belfast tenants had been highlighted the previous night when a meeting had been held in the Ulster Hall under the auspices of House Tenants’ Defence Association.

Mr Thompson Donald, MP, attended the meeting to show his support for the tenants of the city and the News Letter noted that the MP had moved a resolution which “registered a strong protest” against the Salisbury Commission.

The commission had demanded an immediate 30 per cent increase in rents paid by tenants and that it was expected a further 10 per cent would be levied within 12 months.

Mr Thompson said the meeting that night in the Ulster Hall had been convened so to give a united front to the Government plans and to show that they were committed in fighting against landlords “inflicting gross injustice” on tenants.

He went on to call on the Government “to take severe and stern measures to suppress and put down profiteering in the sale of houses”

The MP also went on to press for tenants to be given security of tenure and called for the establishment of Fair Rents Courts.

As part of the association protest against increases in rents the chairman, Councillor Thomas Kennedy, suggested that they must consider non-cooperation with landlords.

He said: “Labour is a powerful weapon when it takes a side and wants to fight. We should consider withdrawing the carpenters, bricklayers and all tradesmen from all work and start them to work at building houses until there enough houses for the people.”