Minister is a 'vulture fund lover', says mortgage campaigner
A row broke out at a Dáil committee after mortgage campaigner 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.
The Irish Mortgage Holders' Organisation (IMHO) chief executive was asked for his view on remarks made by Mr Noonan on so-called vulture funds that have bought Irish properties and loan books.
Mr Hall - who acted as an adviser to the Independent Alliance during government formation talks - referred to a meeting he had with Mr Noonan. "It was clear that the minister falls into the vulture lover category," he claimed.
Mr Hall was responding to questions from AAA-PBP TD Ruth Coppinger. She recalled Mr Noonan's previous contribution to the Housing and Homelessness 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".
She said the minister had several meetings with such funds.
Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan said he objected to Mr Hall's remarks about Mr Noonan and said the committee's record should be corrected. Mr Durkan said that Mr Noonan was arguing that vulture funds were of benefit in bringing cash into the property market at a time when there was little money in the system.
He said it wasn't fair for Mr Hall to make such references to Mr Noonan when he wasn't there to defend himself. "The committee is not making any decision on that issue," chairman John Curran said.
Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne walked out of the room after saying she was "disappointed" with Mr Hall's remarks.
A spokeswoman for Mr Noonan last night said he would be making no comment. Previously Mr Noonan told the committee how he would like to introduce a code of conduct for how vulture funds handle mortgage arrears.