The ICSA’s Rural Development chair, Seamus Sherlock, called on the farming community to stick together to fight the issue of vulture funds.
Mr. Sherlock called on Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, to consider measures to control the selling of loans involving family farms to hedge funds.
“The farming community must stand together on this issue and send a clear message to vulture funds that any attempt to sell distressed farmland will be met with community resistance.” Mr. Sherlock noted.
“There are various figures relating to the acreage already under the control of such funds, however, ICSA believes this will only be a drop in the ocean if proper measures are not put in place to curtail these vulture funds.” He continued.
Mr. Sherlock said the banks are now “throwing farm families to the wolves” after years of working side-by-side.
“Banks have worked with farmers for generations and now these same financial institutions are throwing farm families to the wolves.” He stated.
“Landing farm families in the ruthless grip of vulture funds to face a perilous future is an abomination. It is a practice that should not be allowed to continue and if it needs political intervention so be it.”
Mr Sherlock said that sending a strong message to fund managers that dealing with farm families to restructure existing loans is the best way forward but said it must be done at a reasonable rate.
“In the interim, we need to continue to send a strong message to fund managers that the best way forward has always been, and will always be, to deal with the family by restructuring existing loans.” He said.
“This must be done at a reasonable rate bearing in mind these loans were purchased at a fraction of the original debt. The option of a forced sale should never be considered unless there is absolutely no engagement by the borrower.” He concluded.