Tánaiste’s reply to forced farm sales ‘pitiful, inadequate and ill-informed’

The response of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to concerns raised around increased vulture fund activity and forced farm sales is “insulting and borders on indifference”, independent TD Carol Nolan has claimed.

Deputy Nolan was speaking after she raised the matter during leaders questions in the Dáil earlier today (Thursday, November 26).

Commenting, the Laois-Offaly TD said:

I think it is fair to say that the replies made by Tánaiste Varadkar are going to generate real and deep anger among many farmers in rural Ireland.

Claiming that the Tánaiste “simply does not appear to get it, or to understand the nature and scale of the problem and the requirement for urgent intervention by the Minister for Finance”, deputy Nolan said.

“We all accept that debts have to be paid. We all accept that responsible engagement around restructuring of loans is important. That was not the issue.

“The issue I raised related to the fear and terror that these vulture funds are generating through forced sales which have reemerged following the end of the Covid-19 related moratorium on forced sales.

“We know from reports by personal insolvency practitioners and farm organisations that some farm sales are even being forced through without any prior notice being given.

A number of these forced sales have been denied through the application of Protective Certificates under the personal insolvency arrangement [PIA] legislation.

The deputy claimed that the Tánaiste “needs to urgently get his head out of the sand, stop blaming farmers and idealising vulture funds as some kind of responsible social institutions”, adding:

“They are a plague on rural Ireland and anyone who has dealt with them for even a limited amount of time knows this.

“This government would do well to side with their own distressed citizens and avoid throwing accusations around unwillingness to repay debts in the direction of struggling farmers who are only seeking fair play and the protection of the law,” concluded deputy Nolan.