'There is a huge amount of farmers worried about vulture funds' committee hears amid calls to regulate ‘cowboy’ receivers
Calls to halt AIB sale of non-performing loans
There is a huge number of farmers and farm families worried about vulture funds and the impact on their loans, a Joint Oireachtas Committee on the sale of loans to unregulated private investment funds heard today. It also heard calls for greater regulation of receivers, some of whom are going around the country like ‘cowboys’.
The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) Director General Damian McDonald told the hearing that a lot of farm families are "suffering in silence with their situations. That is a factor in matters like this and it makes it harder to get a grip on how big a problem this is."
The IFA, he said, is actively involved in 150 cases of farmer loans being sold off by banks to vulture funds, but he said that the number of farm families affected by the situation is probably far greater.
"You have to think there is a huge number of people who are worried about this and are not sure where they are going to end up. It is a concern as well that farmers when they eventually come to us it’s too late and they are afraid that if the case becomes high profile the fund will be harder on them.
"Based on the reaction we would be very worried there are a lot of farmers out there in trouble."
Chair of the Oireachtas Finance Committee John McGuinness called on those present at the hearing to join the campaign to stop vultures.
"In the name of Ireland please join in the campaign to stop these vultures. The political system has the capacity to deal with it, but they refuse to," he said.
He also said that the upcoming AIB sale of non-performing loans must be stopped.