The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) have arrived in Dublin today, Monday November 26th, in protest over vulture funds.
The group arrived outside the BidX1 HQ at Waterloo Exchange, Waterloo Road Dublin 4, earlier today, to protest the online property trading platform, BidX1. They are protesting the continued forced sales of family farms, business and homes by the company.
“ICSA is calling for the immediate cessation of the sale of distressed properties online for individuals and families who are willing to engage in meaningful discussions.” Said Rural Development chair of the ICSA, Seamus Sherlock.
“We know that in some cases those involved don’t even know their homes and properties are being sold. These fire sales are a blunt and crude instrument and we are insisting that the practice be stopped.” Seamus Sherlock concluded.
The protest continued this morning from12pm, despite BidX1 ceasing the sale of all agricultural lands for a period, due in part to word of the protest spreading. The company, BidX1, say they are open to selling further farmland in the future.
“The farming community must stand together and send a clear message to vulture funds, and those who collaborate with them, that any attempt to sell distressed farmland will be met with community resistance.” Sherlock said.
“Online property trading platforms don’t tell the full story. What you’re viewing is a product of the mistreatment of customers by banks initially and then by vulture funds. We have a situation whereby mainstream banks are continuing to sell off loans at an alarming rate, so we have an ever increasing number of families who find themselves having to deal with vulture funds with no choice in the matter.” he continued.
Mr. Sherlock warned that although the recent statement from BidX1 to stop agricultural land sales, for the time being, is encouraging, it should only be viewed as temporary.
“We are encouraged by the statement from BidX1 that they have, for the time being, removed contentious lots from their site in advance to today’s protest. However, for that move to be viewed as anything more than a temporary knee-jerk reaction, it needs to become a permanent policy.” he said.
“We know that farms have been and will continue to be included in portfolio sales of loans. We also know that these loans are usually secured by land deeds exceeding the value of the loan, making the prospect of a quick sale more attractive than negotiating a reasonable solution with borrowers.”
He then called on sales platforms such as BidX1, to be more careful when putting land up for sale.
“We want BidX1, and all other such platforms, to be much more careful about putting land up for sale where it’s still possible for a compromise to be found and a deal concluded." said Sherlock.
"At ICSA we want to see more mediation and less confrontation. We believe that a reasonable negotiated settlement should always be considered the best option for everyone involved. We will continue to press for more regulation of the processes by which these loans are sold off in the first place and managed thereafter.” he added.
Concluding, Mr Sherlock said “It’s not easy dealing with new loan masters whose only interest is to profit from your distress but together we can make a difference and stand our ground. ICSA strongly believes in supporting family farms and will endeavour to assist anyone facing difficulties.”
ICSA protesting against online property websites selling family farms while farmers are still trying to work things out. Vultures must have their wings clipped! pic.twitter.com/LsAtHWgq6t— ICSA (@ICSAIreland) 26 November 2018