Offaly TD fumes over 'vulture funds' seizing control of family farms
Independent Offaly TD Carol Nolan has spoken out about what she calls "the growing advancement of vulture funds to seize control of family farms" in Ireland, describing as "reprehensible."
Speaking from Leinster House Deputy Nolan said, “this Government has given the green light to Banks to move farm holdings beyond the reach of the Financial Regulator."
"These vultures have one single purpose and that it to prey upon distressed borrowers for the purpose of making a profit at the expense of the mortgage holder. The Government permit for these transactions is reprehensible as it is knowingly endorsing a black market trade of Irish land, farms and family homes," Carol commented.
"So-called ‘vulture funds’ are privately owned speculative Hedge Funds and Equity Funds whose operations do not fall under the remit of the Financial Regulator," Nolan explained.
"In the past couple of months a number of banks including Permanent TSB and KBC Bank Ireland. Most recently Ulster Bank sold €1.4b worth of loans to the US Investment Fund ‘Cerberus’ which includes the title to some 2,300 owner occupied family homes."
Deputy Nolan stated that “these transactions are nothing short of legal racketeering, contrived to benefit profiteering investors at the expense of ordinary hard-working farm families. These vultures are faceless entities who know nothing of the business of farming and care even less for the plight of farm families, many who have worked their land for generations," she added.
Speaking in response to Minister of State for Financial Services Michael D’Arcy’s "recent comments that suggested vulture funds were easier to deal with than banks," Deputy Nolan stated that “Minister D’Arcy has no legal or moral authority to make such a statement."
"The fact of the matter is that these funds are beyond his control and they can do what they like. His anecdote is unsubstantiated hearsay, behind which he is abdicating all responsibility for his Department. In May of this year I called on Minister Paschal Donohue to intervene in this matter yet since then we’ve witnessed the distressing scenes of forced land sale attempts by vulture funds. I am once again calling for Government intervention."
Deputy Nolan is supporting calls from the IFA and other farming organisations, to bring these funds within the regulatory jurisdiction of the Central Bank and extend some safeguards to borrowers and homeowners.