TDs demand Nama sell-offs halted following SBP vulture fund revelations

Calls for emergency legislation after RTÉ documentary The Great Irish Sell-Off

9th January, 2017
TDs call time on vulture funds

TDs are calling for emergency legislation to stop Nama selling any more assets following Sunday Business Post Editor Ian Kehoe's RTÉ documentary - The Great Irish Sell-Off.

Tonight's hard-hitting programme examined what the arrival of vulture funds has meant for Ireland and whether colossal sales of distressed loans has benefitted the country.

In the programme Kehoe looked at how funds bought up close to 90,000 mortgages and tens of billions of euro in distressed property debt and business loans in the wake of the crash- all at knock-down prices.

Co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall, today demanded "the madness of continuing to sell our assets" is stopped immediately.

Shortall said: "This weekend's Sunday Business Post revealed that 24 Irish subsidiaries of vulture funds have paid less than €20,000 in total tax despite having a controlling stake in assets worth €20billion, with some of them able to pay just €75 a year in tax.

"That is simply galling - the average worker in Ireland is paying multiples of the annual tax that these billion dollar funds are paying and at the same time they are benefitting hugely with the assets we have all but gifted to them.

"Not content with making massive profits of between 33 and 50%, many of these funds are also pressurising struggling homeowners and adding to the homelessness crisis in Ireland right now."

Shorthall said that all housing land and or properties under the control of Nama should be put to public use, rather than land hoarding or selling the assets to international funds.

She said that the current housing crisis is being exacerbated by NAMA not making lands and properties available for public use.

"Tonight the nation will watch the ‘Great Irish Sell-Off documentary and will be aghast at the wholesale sell-off of Irish assets- assets that the Irish people own – and there will be lots of hand-wringing and outrage, but what we actually need is immediate action to stop the crazy practice from continuing," she said.

"It is unthinkable that at the time we have a national emergency in the housing sector we also have a state agency hoarding or selling land and properties to entities which have no interest in the Irish public good."

Meanwhile, the Anti-Austerity Alliance's Ruth Coppinger TD said: "After this documentary airs tonight it is highly likely that government TDs will wring their hands about the situation. However, vulture funds were given the red carpet treatment by this government and ‘vulture lover’ Michael Noonan in particular.

“While they have come in and feasted on the bones of the Celtic Tiger, maximising profits for Wall Street including through tax breaks and loopholes, ordinary people have been hammered by them.

“The mass eviction of tenants in Tyrrelstown and Strand Apartments in Limerick are the most high profile examples of how these companies operate. They try to turf tenants out, with no regard as to where they go, to sell on properties at a tidy profit."

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