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Vulture fund 'warned firm not to appear at Oireachtas committee'

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A company was effectively warned by a vulture fund there would be repercussions if it chose to appear before an Oireachtas committee.

The firm is going through a debt restructuring but was told if it addressed the committee an offer would be off the table, according to the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Isme).

Isme chief executive Neil McDonnell told the Finance Committee: "I was to have been accompanied here by a company which is going through a debt restructure. But it was made very clear to them that the offer being negotiated currently would not be offered if the company appeared before you."

The committee was meeting representatives from the farming and small business communities to discuss the issue of loans being bought from banks by vulture funds.

Joe Healy, president of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), said farmers had lost trust in the banks because of loan sales.

"Farmers view banks who sell their loan books as abdicating their responsibility to see through their dealings with their customers," he said.

He said the IFA was dealing with 150 cases of farmers who had loans sold to vulture funds who were not interested in a long-term debt resolution with the customer.

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