Why Irish homeowners are '21st-century serfs'

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Ireland has the highest proportion of private homeowners in the world. However, the Irish are 21st-century serfs because they do not really own the land on which their houses are built.

A new book on who owns the land of this planet has found that it is the state rather than private Irish individuals which has ultimate control over the ground where homes stand.

Who Owns the World [subtitled The Hidden Facts behind Landownership; published November 2 by Mainstream] is the first compilation of landowners and landownership in every one of the world's 197 states and 66 territories. It reveals that the Queen, as head of 31 Commonwealth states as well as the UK, is the legal owner of approximately 6,600 million acres of land - one sixth of the earth's non-ocean surface. According to the book the value of the Queen's holdings is approximately £17,600,000,000,000 making her the richest individual on Earth. However, there is no way to easily value her real estate because there is no current market in the land of entire countries.

Its author, Kevin Cahill, an Irish-born Sandhurst-educated ex-army officer, points to the Irish Law Reform Commission's attempts to change the legal status of land ownership as evidence of the 'serf-like status' of Irish citizens. He contends it is the British who are to blame.

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