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Monday 19 November 2018

Farming community unites in protest of 'forced sale' of family farm online by vulture fund

  • Vulture fund allegedly trying to force a family to sell some of their land to settle debts
  • Land to be sold by online auction
  • 'Vulture funds have no understanding of the family farm and they are focused only on getting their money'
Meath IFA Chairman at protest on farm. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Meath IFA Chairman at protest on farm. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Farmers are today protesting the forced sale of lands in Co Meath by vulture fund Promontoria, which it claims is trying to force a family to sell some of their land to settle debts.

The land is due to be sold by online auction in the coming weeks. 

Irish Farmers Association (IFA) Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton said IFA would oppose the sale as it says the family is willing to implement a credible solution.

Martin Stapleton said he would be asking the farming community to stand together with the McCann family and stand back from any forced sale. 

“Our debt support team has looked at this case in detail, we have sought professional advice and we are firmly of the view that this farmer has put a very credible proposal to make structured repayments.”

Martin Stapleton said farm families should be given time to repay their debts over a longer term to keep the farm intact and IFA is standing behind farmers who are committed to implementing a credible solution. 

Brendan Stafford, Gerry McCann, Meath IFA Chairman John Curran, Michael McCann, David Farrell & Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton putting up a sign on the McCann farm in Meath, opposing the forced sale of the farm which is due to take place in the coming week.
Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke
Brendan Stafford, Gerry McCann, Meath IFA Chairman John Curran, Michael McCann, David Farrell & Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton putting up a sign on the McCann farm in Meath, opposing the forced sale of the farm which is due to take place in the coming week. Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke

“Vulture funds have no understanding of the family farm and they are focused only on getting their money. It is not acceptable for vulture funds to force a sale of land and cash in debts they have bought from a bank when there is a viable alternative.”

Farmer warned he would be jailed

It comes as a High Court Judge in a separate case recently warned a West of Ireland farmer that he will be jailed for a third time for contempt unless he removes his cattle from lands that are up for sale.

Mr Justice Michael Twomey found Mr Eugene Costello that he will be jailed for three weeks due to his ongoing failure to remove cattle from 90 acres of farmland at Coolfree, Taughmaconnell, Ballinasloe, Co Roscommon.

However, the Judge placed a stay on the committal order and adjourned the case to October to allow Mr Costello time to remove the cattle from the lands.

Carlisle Mortgages Ltd brought proceedings against the farmer claiming he was trying to obstruct the sale of the land by placing his cattle on it.  

Carlisle wants to sell the lands because Mr Costello has failed to repay monies he borrowed from it in 2004 when Mr Costello was advanced €440,000 by Carlisle.

The land was put up as security, and €91,000 was repaid by Mr Costello.

Carlisle, which obtained a possession order in respect of the property in 2006, claims some €1.4m remains outstanding. 

In a long-running battle, Mr Costello has raised issues about the loan and has claimed it was fraudulent, which Carlisle denies.

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