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Thursday 22 February 2018

Homeless charity invests in banks that repossess homes

The Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland Archbishops of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin (pictured) and Michael Jackson, are both former honorary vice-presidents of the charity. Photo: Maxwells/Dublin
The Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland Archbishops of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin (pictured) and Michael Jackson, are both former honorary vice-presidents of the charity. Photo: Maxwells/Dublin
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

A leading homeless charity has substantial investments in major banks which have repossessed hundreds of family homes, the Sunday Independent has learned.

The group also has a €230,000 stake in Ireland's largest unlisted property fund.

The Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland Archbishops of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin and Michael Jackson, are both former honorary vice-presidents of the charity.

New financial records reveal its diverse portfolio investments now stand at €3.9m. Established in 1818, Mendicity is the oldest charity of its kind in the city.

A spokesperson insisted its current investment policy is both "holistic and ethical".

Over the past 200 years, it has built up a sizeable fund through subscriptions and bequests, donated by private individuals, and gifted in wills and inheritances.

In 2016 and 2015, it received €41,162 and €72,072 respectively from two specific sources of income. Accounts show the fund's biggest investment is in a fund called IPUT - the largest unlisted property vehicle in Ireland.

An investment of €173,135 in IPUT in January 2015 is now worth €231,331.

In total, the fund, established in the 1970s, is diversified across 45 different investments, in order to generate the "maximum amount of revenue possible".

In a statement, the charity insisted the management of the fund is treated with the "utmost care and attention".

All investment decisions are made in line with the "holistic and ethical approach" it applies to its work, it added.

However, bank bonds also form part of its investment portfolio, including a large stake in Bank of Ireland, AIB, Rabobank, HSBC, Lloyd's and Paragon Banking Group.

Many of these financial institutions have been involved in the repossession of family homes following the economic collapse.

In 2015, AIB started legal proceedings to repossess 5,709 owner-occupied homes.

Sunday Independent

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