IFA President Joe Healy said it was extremely disappointing to see junior Minister for Finance Michael D’Arcy say that vulture funds are easier to deal with compared to the banks. “That has not been the experience in the cases we have dealt with. It’s a cause for concern that somebody in elected office would have such a view as people would be relying on him to sort this out.”
“It’s a cop out to say vulture funds don’t need to be regulated. They do, and the Government needs to make it happen,” he said.
“While it can be difficult to deal with banks too, they are regulated and because they are interested in new business, they have to at least be mindful of how they treat their existing customers,” he said.
The IFA has re-stated its opposition to any attempt by vulture funds to force farm families to sell their farms to settle debts.
“The faceless funds which have no understanding of farming are hellbent on destroying families while feeding on the carcass of the family farm,” he said.
IFA Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton said that debt restructuring should be based on the repayment capacity. “Farm families should be given the time to repay their debts over a longer term to keep the farm intact. Farmers are particularly vulnerable because the security tends to be far higher in relation to the value of the loan in comparison to other SMEs. 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.”
IFA is standing behind farmers who are committed to implementing a credible solution. It is designed to protect farmers from the vulture funds’ which want to get their money immediately. Farmers must be allowed to repay their debts over an appropriate timeframe.