Tuesday 26 September 2017

Mortgage wars: Row erupts as Fine Gael's Michael Noonan accused of being 'vulture fund lover'

The document includes a version of Mr Noonan’s pre-election plan to establish a ‘Rainy Day’ fund
The document includes a version of Mr Noonan’s pre-election plan to establish a ‘Rainy Day’ fund
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A ROW broke out at the Dáil's Housing and Homelessness Committee after Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation chief David Hall accused finance minister Michael Noonan of being a "vulture lover".

The disagreement saw one TD walk out as Fine Gael deputies objected to the remark.

Read more: FF refuse to budge on mortgage rates bill - with government set to lose its first Dail vote

Catherine Byrne and Bernard Durkan objected to the description of Mr Noonan as being favourable to the so-called vulture funds that have bought Irish properties and loan books and demanded that the record be corrected.

Mr Hall was responding to questions from AAA-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger when he made the remarks about Mr Noonan.

She recalled Mr Noonan’s previous contribution to the Committee when he said that “vultures provide a very good service in the ecology through cleaning up dead animals that are littered across the landscape.”

And she noted that the minister has had several meetings with such funds.

In his answer Mr Hall claimed: “Minister Noonan falls into the vulture lover category.”

Mr Durkan said he objected to Mr Hall’s remarks and said the committee’s record should be corrected.

He said it wasn’t fair to make such references to Mr Noonan when he wasn’t there to defend himself and that the issues “can’t be left in the ether”.

Chairman John Curran said: "The committee is not making any decision on that issue."

Mr Durkan said that what Mr Noonan meant in his wider remarks to the committee on vulture funds was that they had been of benefit in bringing cash into the property market at a time when there was little money in the system.

Ms Byrne walked out of the committee room after saying she was “disappointed” with the remarks.

Mr Hall was addressing the committee on the problem of mortgage arrears.

He said the country faces a homelessness “catastrophe” unless there is a “radical” solution to help 100,000 people living in households that are in arrears. 

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